Cry of merchants noticed in The Hague

The Daily Herald writes that the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament has sought clarity on a recent letter from Saba Merchants Association (SMA), in which the organisation sounded the alarm about the hardship that Saba’s private sector has been facing.

The Kingdom Relations Committee earlier this week sent a request to Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk to respond to an SMA letter it received on March 5.

In the letter, SMA President Kelly Johnson described the “lonely” fight of the private sector for changes in the laws that have “severely hampered” the island’s economic growth since Saba became a public entity of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010.

Johnson explained that SMA members have attended “countless” meetings with Dutch delegations. Numerous economic documents were sent to the Second Chamber concerning the issues, such as the increased pressures caused by the new tax system and the mounting administrative burden.

According to Johnson, the Saba Government also has a role to play in supporting the private sector. She stated that the Saba Government should realise that the private sector was the driving force behind economic growth and that it achieving meaningful development results helped to combat poverty.

“The private sector is the primary source of economic growth, job creation, government revenue to finance essential public services and the goods and services required to improve people’s quality of life,” Johnson stated, who noted that “very little” was done to mitigate the high cost of operating a business on Saba.

The President suggested that the Saba Government focus on developing a sustainable economic growth strategy. This strategy should consist of three main parts: building economic foundations, growing businesses and investing in people, which in turn will target the main prerequisites to alleviate poverty through private sector-led sustainable economic growth.

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