St. Maarten News – Finance Minister Richard Gibson repeated in a meeting of parliament yesterday that the country needs to diversify and expand its economy to build resistance against inevitable external shocks. He mentioned the development of hydroponics, fishery, the medical industry and education as viable options.
Minister Gibson repeated his warnings about de-risking and the potential loss of correspondents banking and pointed again to local banks that want certain customers – especially casinos – to close their accounts, because they do not want to accept the risks associated with this type of customer anymore.
To improve the country’s financial position it will have to invest in its tax inspectorate, the minister said. As he stated during last week Friday’s tax summit, a 1 percent increase in complains represents 20 million guilders in additional revenue for the government.
“We need to invest in this apparatus,” the minister said. The tax inspectorate is understaffed, under equipped and under trained. If we raise compliance from the current 22.5 to 26 percent, we would raise structurally 70 million guilders.”
That is the kind of money needed to invest in the tax inspectorate. “We could pay back such a loan to a bank within three years and they would receive us with open arms,” the minister said. “Unfortunately we are stuck within the rules of the kingdom law financial supervision.”
Source: Today SXM “Tax inspectorate is understaffed, under equipped and under trained”