James questions exemption turnover tax for Saba, Statia

POSTED: 01/24/13 10:10 AM

St. Maarten – United People’s party MP Jules James issued a press statement yesterday questioning the impact of exempting Saba and Statia from turnover tax on St. Maarten’s budget.

“Towards the end of October Finance Minister Roland Tuitt said that he was negotiating with Holland to exempt goods bought in St. Maarten from turnover tax and exported to the Dutch public entities of Statia and Saba. The timeline that this was to take place was by year-end.”

Minister Tuitt did acknowledge that the government will be losing revenue, James noted and he wonders whether the tariffs for turnover tax will be increased again this year and next year to balance the budget.

James furthermore wonders whether the board for financial supervision Cft has provided an advice about the exemption and what impact it will have on the 2013 and 2014 budgets. “How many millions of guilders are we talking about annually? Can the Minister of Finance provide figures? Was the exemption discussed in the meeting of the Council of Ministers with the Dutch Minister of Interior and Kingdom Affairs Ronald Plasterk?”

At the end of November the Dutch National Government Representative for Bonaire, Statia and Saba Wilbert Stolte, voiced his criticism about the fact the National Alliance led government still levies turnover tax on products that are exported to Statia and Saba, and that the government does not honor international agreements that goods in transshipment are exempted from taxes in the country from which they are exported, James stated with a reference to a media report that appeared on December 1 of last year.

“In November Minister Tuitt said he was going to negotiate with the Dutch Government and the Cft about debt relief. The Cft is a supervisory entity that works according to the rules and regulations of its articles of incorporation,” James furthermore stated. “If the Cft allows itself to become a political tool and get into the process of making political deals, then the entity will lose its integrity. If negotiations do take place, then this also sets precedence for future governments. The Cft must realize that it should be open for that as well. I would strongly suggest threading carefully before opening up a Pandora’s box.”

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