Published On: Fri, Dec 27th, 2013

CBA looks positively to the new year

WillemstadWILLEMSTAD – The Curaçao Bankers Association (CBA) is aware of the reality that many companies and their employees are going through a difficult period. At the same time it is important to keep an eye on the positive elements, which can be used by the Curaçao community to recover in 2014.

CBA sympathizes with several large and small companies that are thinking about restructuring, downsizing and even dismissing employees. But that is precisely why it is good to offer society tools from where everyone can draw hope for the new year.

Hopeful

Despite the cost-increasing measures and the continuing economic recession, the banking sector has on the whole a continued positive image. Even the economic stagnation in 2013 does not prevent banks from continuing to run profitable and even achieve some growth. The fact that the local banking sector remains a healthy industry, even during the financial crisis of a few years ago and now under difficult circumstances, continues to offer a promising basis for the future.

The CBA considers itself, along with other financial services, content with the fact that the governments of Curaçao and the Netherlands have agreed on a new tax system. The Taxation Netherlands Curacao (BNRC) replaces, as expected, by January 1, 2015, the 1964 dating BRK (Tax Regulation for the Kingdom) which provides continuity to the international companies and a good base to attract new clients giving the sector new life.

CBA also welcomes the fact that progress has been made in the international sphere. There is a treaty signed for the exchange of tax information with Colombia whereby Curaçao has not appeared in the recently published blacklist produced in this country. In addition, a convention for the avoidance of double taxation was also signed with Malta.

In addition, the Government and Parliament may agree on a new export facility bill, for both goods and services, beginning on January 1, 2014. Thus, the export sector can be stimulated, whereby a good competitive alternative is offered to companies which are considering moving to other jurisdictions, which was repeatedly the case in recent years. The new law will hopefully attract new international companies, but also companies that were established here in the past.

It is the intention of the CBA is to intensify cooperation with International Bankers' Association (IBA), the CIFA (Curaçao International Financial Services Association) and IFG (International Financial Group) in 2014 to jointly secure and expand the future of the financial sector in Curaçao.

Another positive development is that the public finances are looking better now. As long as the budget is effectively monitored and the national budget actually remains in balance, it can be expected that there will be no additional measures which further erode the purchasing power of citizens and businesses. Now that the inflation rate has shown a downward trend since the end of 2011, it is expected that the people will have more to spend in the next few years which will benefit the stability and employment in the private sector.

Construction activities

The other positive news is that the government has finally started with the construction of the new hospital in Otrabanda. This project provides for short term activities in the construction industry and in the long term this institution can contribute to the quality of medical care in Curacao.

The plans which have unfolded at the end of this year for the construction of new hotel accommodation, such as the Marriott Courtyard and Pen Resort's relationship with the Hard Rock chain are also uplifting. Thanks to the fifth North Sea Jazz Festival in August, hotels and ancillary sectors such as catering and transport, can also rely on thousands of extra tourists during the low season in 2014.

After 2013 has proven to be a year of austerity measures and stagnation, CBA hopes that, thanks to a number of large and small projects, 2014 will be a year in which the confidence of the private sector and of customers will increase which will result in economic growth and employment.

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