Minister of Finance says SGs told to go back to drawing board

 Secretary Generals (SGs) of the seven Government ministries have been asked to elucidate on the budgets they submitted to the Council of Ministers (COM).

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The SGs have one week to review their submitted budgets collectively and come up with proposals to bring the expenses in line with the income of the country.
This is the course of action being taken after a two hour session between COM, SGs and the Financial Controllers of each Ministry on Tuesday.
The SGs and financial controllers must also take the following into consideration, established deadlines for submitting the budget, and the recent report released by the President of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten with respect to economic growth.
COM also needs to have key strategic discussions regarding several issues affecting the budget which could have consequences for the overall financial health of the Country. These issues are tabled for discussion within the Council and include but are not limited to the core tasks of government, prioritizing of policies for 2012, and steering the country’s economy in the right direction.
The Minister of Finance has called in the top management of the New Tax Organization to give an executive order to draw up a plan of action to go after revenues out there from those businesses and/or individuals not paying any taxes or not paying their fair share.
“As a country, we need everybody to contribute towards the national development of the nation. Every business and individual has to pay their fair share and we are diligently working on this.
“Emphasis will also be placed on collecting existing outstanding taxes and government fees. Revamping of the tax system must also be taken into consideration as well which Government is diligently working on that would lead to an improved economic and fiscal climate for the country.
“The SGs have been advised to present realistic and executable policies based on the current income of the country.
“We are working to conclude the drafting of the national 2012 country within the shortest time possible and have it submitted to the relevant entities for review,” Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto said on Wednesday.
The Minister is also working on a plan to work off all existing backlogs in appeals submitted to the tax office in order that the receiver can go over to collection.
Management is expected to submit its plan by the end of next week. The plan is expected to consist of short term, middle term and long term actions which should lead to increased revenues for government coffers in 2012 and beyond.
It is part of the Minister’s plan to tackle the informal economy as well as bring the so-called free-riders in to pay their fair share. In other words increase compliance.
“We all know those businesses which refuse to give consumers receipts but offer a piece of paper from a calculator. We all have to pay our fair share in order for government to be able to execute the tasks it has to on behalf of the entire community,” Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto pointed out.
Discussions with the Project leader of the new tax system has also been held in order to get the process of coming to a new tax system as a top priority and giving some considerations for research as well as guidance as to how important a simplified and user friendly system which is attractive for investors.
“The new tax system must also not be a strain on the economy, but contribute to the overall growth of the aforementioned. Due to global economic challenges in the United States and Europe, our national economy is currently basically at a standstill at best. A reformed tax system which this Government is avidly promoting to develop is a major policy initiative that is taking shape and will be a plus for our Country.
“I must add that the revision of the tax system is top priority and is being treated as such, there are also other factors which affect our economy and which also need to be addressed.
“It should not be expected that a revised tax system on its own is the only fix-it-all solution to our economic stagnation. Fostering a favourable investment climate, investments in infrastructural development and managing our crime situation are to name a few of the things that need to be tackled which Government is working on, but it can only be done with all stakeholders collectively involved,” Minister of Finance Hon. Hiro Shigemoto concluded.