Published On: Wed, Dec 5th, 2012

Proposals sent so Parliament for debate and approval

WILLEMSTAD - Within the framework of the National Dialogue a meeting with Kolaborativo was held recently in which almost all social stakeholders were represented, including the commerce and the unions. According to outgoing interim-premier Stanley Betrian, almost all scenarios for the intended austerity measures were discussed. The alternatives were discussed during a tripartite deliberation yesterday afternoon. The measures, necessary to restructure the deficits in the old-age pensions (AOV) and the health and accident insurance (ZV/OV), could include raising the retirement age, a sober basic package and higher premiums. Also the cover policy to spare the dregs of society was discussed, such as subsidizing of the AOV by differentiation of the sales tax. “We discussed the various models and the possible financial, economic and social consequences”, said Betrian. The interim-premier pointed out once again that one cannot wait another year to take measures because this will only increase the financial consequences.

The impact of the various scenarios of the medical insurance system has not been included in an economic model yet. “The on-charge calculations will be ready this week”, said Joop Kusters of the Association Business Community Curaçao (VBC). The calculations must show what the effects are on the purchasing power and unemployment. According to Kusters, the measures will not have a positive effect on the economy but one must view which actions are the least disastrous for the economy. “Indirectly, retrenchment means a lower purchasing power but no measures is not an option”, said Kusters. The government pursues a two-track policy. This means various proposals are forwarded for advice to the Social Economic Council and the Advisory Council but also that the National Dialogue with the social partners continues unabated. The intention is that the Parliament will discuss the proposals in the third week of December. A plenary meeting with all partners is scheduled for December 8th. The partners will then decide on three most ‘favorable’ combinations of the various scenarios. In a relatively short time, far-reaching decisions are taken. According to Kusters, in a normal situation more time would be taken to discuss the proposals with all stakeholders. “However, the dialogue is scheduled within a too short time to take measures in the short term”, said Kusters. The proposals will be adopted next week in the meeting of the Council of Ministers. The Parliament will discuss the proposals no later than the third week of December. In view of the intended measures, the Council of Minister approved the second supplemental budget for this year last Wednesday. The latter should have been forwarded to the Parliament on August 15th. This week interim-minister of Finance, José Jardim, hopes the Council of Ministers will approve the budget for 2013, which budget should have been presented to the Parliament on the second Tuesday of September.

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