The Dutch Council of Ministers last Friday agreed to extend the corona crisis package for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The subsidy arrangement wage cost and loss of income will continue for another nine months, and the reduction of the tariffs of utilities will last another year.
In a letter Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Eric Wiebes and Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Wouter Koolmees informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament about the continuation of the emergency measures for the Caribbean Netherlands, as part of a larger document about the third support package for the Netherlands.
“The point of departure remains that for the Caribbean Netherlands a similar approach is selected as for the European Netherlands. This means that the temporary subsidy arrangement wage cost and loss of income will be extended by nine months,” it was stated in the letter.
The temporary subsidy regulation wage cost and income loss Caribbean Netherlands is a regulation in which the characteristics of the European Netherlands Temporary Emergency Measure Bridging Employment NOW and the Temporary Bridging Regulation Self-employed Entrepreneurs TOO arc embraced, be it with some adaptation to the local situation on the islands.
The ministers stated that at the end of this year, an assessment will be made how this regulation will be phased out in the remaining timeframe if the economic situation at that time allows such. The previous emergency package 2.0 runs until October 12, 2020.
In conjunction with this regulation, additional financial means will be allocated to the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba for additional flanking policy. These incidental funds amount to 0.5 million euro. Also, the providing of services with regard to labour mediation will he temporarily intensified as part of flanking policy, similar to the Netherlands.
The subsidy regulation to finance the fixed cost of middle and small entrepreneurs MKB COVID-19 will he extended, as will also be the case for businesses in the Netherlands. Companies with high fixed cost can, depending on the size and the extent of turn-over loss, come into consideration for a compensation of their fixed cost.
The earlier emergency measure for the Caribbean Netherlands to temporarily reduce the tariffs of water, electricity and telecom will be extended until January 1, 2022. Early 2021, an assessment will be made to see whether the situation requires an additional extension.
In order to execute investment projects in the short term that contribute to a structural strengthening of the economics of the public entities, a reservation will be made on the budget, and the financial means will be freed up on the condition that the responsible ministry co-finances the amount for 50 per cent.
Ministers Hoekstra, Wiebes and Koolmees further announced in their letter a phasing out of the temporary deferral of payment of taxes, conform the deferral regulation that exists in the Netherlands. This means that entrepreneurs can submit a request for deferral until October 1. Entrepreneurs already granted a deferral of payment must resume complying with their payment obligations no later than January 1, 2021.
As for their accumulated debt at the tax office, entrepreneurs can repay per January 1, 2021, in 24 equal monthly terms. The temporary reduced recovery interest to zero per cent will remain in place until December 31, 2021, just as in the Netherlands.
The three public entities, just like municipalities in the Netherlands, are receiving financial compensation for the loss of income that they are suffering in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba this concerns a total amount of 4.3 million euro. The Second Chamber was informed of the amounts in a fourth incidental suppletory budget Kingdom Relations on Monday.
The Dutch government is further making an additional 26,000 euro available to the public entities to compensate the local governments for the extra cost in connection with the Second Chamber elections in March 2021 and the Island Council elections in St. Eustatius in October. The additional election funding is for the extra cost to make the voting bureaus corona-proof.
The Daily Herald.