Sarah calls for lowering of taxes on fuel to brace consumers for the fallout from the war in Ukraine, but says more has to be done.

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Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams

 

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — MP Wescot is obviously not amused by the public spats between members of the governing coalition.

“At a time when we need to bring all heads together to devise a plan to brace our consumers and thus our economy against the outrageous spike in prices,  the governing parties seem only busy shouting at each other and communicating  via the media.

Every answer seems to be “ we are working on it” and every suggestion is met with “we will consider”, but nothing really happens.  In the meantime, we see a lot of   finger pointing, the latest being yet another debacle at  our airport. It is reported that a parliament meeting will be called for next week. I hope before that becomes a reality, someone in government is able to get the horse back in the stable. We can not continue in this fashion”, the MP stated.

The  government should be in conclave with  relevant stakeholders regarding the rapidly rising  inflation, food security and food procurement and the big one, the exploding cost of fuel. When will the expanded basket of goods go into effect? No longer can we accept that the TEATT minister just got there, because government is about continuity and the crises we are facing call for swift action.

All over the world, governments are frantically looking for ways to cushion this blow to their citizens and our government should do the same. This calls for consultation with the private sector and the relevant ministries, not a solo show.

If we look at the buildup of the cost we pay for fuel, there are several components of tax, such as the excises and TOT. The government needs to consider reducing these to keep the cost within reach for the average consumer. In this we can be assisted by the Netherlands, that itself has found ways to quickly come to the aid of their consumer. Don’t tell me they will obstruct St. Maarten.   There are many aspects that need to be considered. And yes, it will affect government’s bottom line, but these are extraordinary times and call for extraordinary measures. I yet need to see the government bring together these issues and come with short term solutions.