Economic support package to end for Caribbean Netherlands

Bonaire, St. Eus­tatius and Saba as per October 1, will no longer receive funds from the Dutch government’s econom­ic support package during the pandemic.

This means that the so-called Temporary subsidy regulation on wage cost and income loss (“Tijdelijke subsidieregeling loonkosten en inkomstenverlies CN”) and the subsidy regulation on Compensation of Fixed Costs (“Tegemoetkoming Vaste Lasten BES”) will stop after 1.5 years.

Monday’s decision of the Dutch caretaker government to cease the generic support measures for entrepreneurs and employees during the coronavirus crisis will also affect the Caribbe­an Netherlands, it became clear from a letter that was sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

The letter, signed by care­taker Ministers of Economic Affairs and Climate Stef Blok, of Finance Wopke Hoekstra and of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees, and by four state secretaries, also included a short chapter about the Caribbean Neth­erlands.

According to the Dutch government, the point of departure remains that for the Caribbean Netherlands a similar approach is applied as for the Netherlands itself, taking into account the spe­cific situation on the three islands. For the Caribbean Netherlands, not only the epidemiological situation is of importance, but also the specific socio-economic context, in particular the de­pendency on tourism.

“This point of departure means that the Temporary subsidy regulation on wage costs and income loss, and the subsidy regulation on Compensation of Fixed Costs, just as in the Netherlands, cannot continue in the fourth quarter of 2021,” it was stated.

“The Dutch government takes this decision based on the current epidemiological and economic situation in the Caribbean Netherlands, which at this moment pre­sents no reason to come to another decision than in the Netherlands.”

But there is still some good news: in order to smooth the transition to a situation without Dutch governmen­tal support, the Dutch gov­ernment will continue the temporary means for sup­plementary island-specific policy via the so-called “free allowance”.

“The public entities on an island level are in the best position to decide what is specifically needed in this transition period. The means for supplementary policy will be increased com­pared to the third quarter of 2021, taking into considera­tion that the situation at the ending of the current meas­ures will not be ‘normal’ within all sectors,” it was stated in the letter.

For the fourth quarter, an incidental amount of one million euros is available.

In principle, the regular division key between the three public entities will be applied, but this standard can be deviated from if the epidemiological or socio­economic context warrants this. The Dutch government promised to keep in touch with the public entities and to closely monitor the situa­tion on the islands.

In June this year, the Dutch government had already an­nounced that in principle it would not extend the ge­neric support package in the fourth quarter of 2021. Monday’s letter confirmed that the support package will not be prolonged.

This means that after 1.5 years, the generic part of the intensive economic support package comes to an end on October 1 in the Neth­erlands and the Caribbean Netherlands. In the Nether­lands, the regulations Emer­gency Measure Bridging Employment NOW, Com­pensation of Fixed Costs TVL, Temporary bridging measure for self-employed entrepreneurs Tozo, ‘Tempo­rary Support for Necessary Costs TONK and the vari­ous fiscal measures will not be prolonged per that date.

The Daily Herald.

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