Tuitt denies turnover tax hike: Government assessing civil service’s functioning

POSTED: 06/22/12 2:30 PM

St. Maarten – “Absolutely not so. This government is not going to increase turnover tax.” Those were the words that Finance Minister Roland Tuitt used Wednesday to deny rumors that the Wescot-Williams II Cabinet is getting ready to raise turnover tax.
“To the contrary this government is working for the people and this government is looking at certain small changes we can make in the tax structure so the individuals can go home with more money in their pocket. We are working with the Tax Office to look at certain programs that we can adjust and then the individuals can benefit from that. This government is not going to increase turnover tax,” Tuitt said.
The government is also at the beginning of assessing the civil service to determine how the administration can be made more “effective and efficient.” Tuitt has already begun to assess his ministry.
“When the government organization was put into place, many generic functions were used. After almost two years of operation, each ministry knows what kind of individuals they need to operate in an effective and efficient way. Because of that I already gave instructions to the ministries that they should look specially at their organization to see if the way it is structured right now is the best way for it to be structured to meet the goals this ministry has to perform and to give to the population,” the minister said.
Later he’d add, “I am looking at the functions and I’m looking at everyone operating in the function so that they can be able to do their job, more efficiently and effectively. What we’re trying to do is increase productivity within government. If we increase productivity the population will benefit from it because all of the tasks that government has to perform will be performed on a more efficient and effective basis and on a timely basis. I think that is also very important.”
The evaluation will also look at ways that government can generate more revenue. In that light Tuitt is examining the Treasury Department, which he believes “was not given the importance it should have been given.”
“The government has 65 million guilders that it invests in certain cds with the banks and that kind of stuff. Let’s say the 65 million is invested with the local banks and the government could have invested it in other instruments and made one percent more. One percent of 65 million in a year is more than half a million – that’s 650, 000 guilders. So if government did not make the extra one percent that they could have made they are losing 650, 000 guilders so those are the things that we are looking at and those are the things that we will implement so that, on the one hand government is collecting tax money, but the money government collects has to be invested in an appropriate and prudent way so that the maximum can be gotten out of those investments,” the minister said.

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