PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Finance Richard Gibson announced in Wednesday’s, February 8, Press Briefing that he’d received the official word in the form of a formal letter from the CFT that the Budget 2017 had been approved.
CFT would now advise the Kingdom that the budget is in order. “When we look back to 2017, and see what the state we were in at that time, and compare that with today, it’s tangible progress that we’re making,” Minister Gibson reported.
The Budget 2017 has a substantial sum of NAf. 47 million of incidental income, and in its letter, the CFT pointed out that it is necessary for government “as far as government- owned companies are concerned, to put in place a dividend policy so that structurally the government can rely on income to replace these incidental incomes that we have to rely on all the time to be able to balance our budget.”
“In that regard we have been busy over the past weeks meeting with government-owned companies with especially that in mind. Of course, change comes with the necessary resistance, and that resistance is being experienced. But I think we will overcome those resistance. The Council of Ministers are of one mind as far as it is concerned and with their help I think we will succeed in getting dividend policy in place that will provide Government with income that it should have been receiving in the past,” Minister Gibson stated.
“Additionally, to boost that income and to replace the incidental income legislation it’s necessary to create structural income going forward and we are very, very, active in preparing a departure tax, which is a small amount of 10-12, guilders which if successful, we will be able to make quite some progress in terms of structural income to realize that things that needs to be done,” Minister Gibson continued.
“Certain government-owned companies have money that should be coming into government’s coffers. And with the new law that is being prepared,” the Minister stated, that this will go towards “getting some alleviation going forward in terms of having a government and a country that can provide the services that are not a luxury, but really a necessity for the people of St. Maarten,” the Minister concluded.