Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto has responded to the questions he received from National Alliance (NA) Honorable Member of Parliament (MP) George Pantophlet with respect to a dividend policy.
MP: "Is it true that the Executive Council of the Island Territory of Sint Maarten has established a dividend policy for all government owned corporations?"
Minister: There is no dividend policy formulated by the former Executive Council of Island Territory of Sint Maarten nor by the Central Government of Sint Maarten, as far as we know for the latter.
MP: "If so, can you provide us with a copy of that policy and share with us the status of that policy? If not, why not?"
Minister: The policy has not been formulated.
MP: "In the event such a policy has never been established, can you inform us if you intend to introduce such a legislation in an attempt to see to it that dividend will be paid to the coffers of government?"
Minister: In our strive to balance the budget and keep it balanced, the Finance department is in the process of investigating different alternative measures to increase revenue and/ or reduce costs. For that purpose a taskforce (Structurally Balanced Budget Team) has been put to work. Dividend strategy is one of the many topics being examined. A dividend policy will be developed by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
MP: "Are there otherwise any agreements between government and the government owned companies on how these companies will contribute to the coffers of government?"
Minister: Actually the most important arrangement is the concession-fee some of the government owned companies, like GEBE NV as well as the Harbor Holding which also contributes to government coffers . The Harbor Holding company also agreed to pay and is paying for beautification projects in the Philipsburg, St. Peters and South Reward districts.