Published On: Tue, Jan 22nd, 2013

Martina: Exit black list Brazil is a spearhead

WILLEMSTAD — One of the priorities for both the Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Finance is to get Curaçao off the Brazilian tax black list, replied Minister of Economic Development, Steven Martina (Pais) in answer to a question from Gilmar ‘Pik’ Pisas (MFK) during the budgetary discussion in the Parliament. It is important to acquire more economic relations and this step – which will involve a prolonged process at several levels – is crucial, according to Martina. The minister believes Brazil is still not convinced that Curaçao has a good jurisdiction and combats tax evasion sufficiently. During the Schotte-cabinet the then minister of Economic Development, Abdul Nasser El Hakim (MFK) also visited the tax department of the South American country several times to remove Curaçao from the black list, but to no avail.

9 percent

Martina also expressed the concern about the introduction of the 9 percent sales tax (ob) for ‘luxury products’. Parliamentarian Amerigo Thodé (MFK) wondered how much impact this will have on the tourism on Curaçao. According to the minister, this will only have a minimum impact. Also parliamentarian Eugene Cleopa (Pais) mentioned the impact on the shopkeepers in the city center. Martina stated DMO, the shopkeepers’ organization of the city center, had already been approached. Shopkeepers are to present proposals to minimize the effects of the sales tax increase for them. The ministry will continue the dialogue with all actors who believe they will be affected, and is prepared to gradually make adjustments.

LGO

Besides many other subjects, Alex Rosaria (Pais) asked questions about the LGO (Overseas Countries and Territories). It regards a collaboration of territories belonging to the EU-countries. The aim of the cabinet is to strengthen this collaboration. Parliamentarian/former premier Gerrit Schotte (MFK) replied he had the impression that Martina thought the previous government hadn’t done enough, which he disputed. In answering a question from Rosaria, Martina replied that the purpose of the new competition authority is to protect consumers and to promote competition. The latter is also one of Martina’s spearheads because competition ‘leads to more investments and more and better products’. In the second part of answering questions from several parliamentarians, Minister Martina expatiated on the importance of approving this budget

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