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.