Tuitt initiates comprehensive dividend policy

POSTED: 06/7/12 1:05 PM

GREAT BAY – The Government of St. Maarten has yet to create one definitive policy that regulates the collection of dividends from government owned companies. The revelation was made at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Finance Minister Roland Tuitt. National Alliance Member of Parliament George Pantophlet believes that require the companies to pay dividends, next to their concession fees, is a means to create a structural revenue stream for government, but that requires a definite policy decision.
“We have a dividend framework that goes back several years as part of the whole package that was the foundation to come to the corporate governance for St. Maarten. So indeed the discussion with the companies to come now with a sort of standard policy to pay dividends is something that needs to be finalized, because this particular policy was never put in law,” Wescot-Williams said.
“The government does not officially have a dividend policy, so I’m working on putting the wheels in motion to develop a dividend policy. But, you know, for instance the Corporate Governance Council – in their law – have the possibility to collect fees from government owned companies and those fees would help them cover their expenses. So that is something you could call a kind of dividend policy. Another one is that a portion of the profits that the Central Bank makes comes to the country St. Maarten, and that we can call a kind of dividend policy, but we want to have a policy that is transparent and everybody can know this is the policy of government. So we will be working on that as soon as possible,” Tuitt said.

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