What impact Exemption of ToT for Statia and Saba will have on Budgets for 2013 and 2014?

Going back to the end of October, the Honourable Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt, informed the people that he was negotiating with Holland to exempt goods bought in Sint Maarten from Turn over Tax (ToT) and exported to the Dutch public entities of Statia and Saba. The timeline that this was to take place according to the Minister’s statement to the media was by year-end (2012).


Minister Tuitt did acknowledge that the Government will be losing revenues. The first question is, will ToT be increased once again in the second half of 2013 or in 2014 – excluding the forthcoming ToT increase on Alcohol and Tobacco products – in order to fill the hole in the budget?

Has the Committee of Financial Supervision CFT provided an advice on this exemption? What impact will the exemption have on the 2013 and 2014 budgets? How many millions of guilders are we talking about annually? Can the Minister of Finance provide the people of Sint Maarten with the figures? Was the exemption discussed in the meeting between the Council of Ministers and Dutch Minister of Interior and Kingdom Affairs Ronald Plasterk on Tuesday, January 22? If so, can the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance confirm this?

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 ToT on products that are exported to Statia and Saba, and that the Government does not honour international agreements that goods in transhipment are exempted from taxes in the country from which they are exported. These comments can be found in the Daily Herald of December 1st .

Back 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. 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 as well, and 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.

Jules James

United People’s (UP) Party, Member of Parliament, Member of the Permanent Committee of Finance