PHILIPSBURG–Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr. told Parliament on Monday that he is seeking the approval of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT to acquire a NAf. 20 million loan to fund upgrades for the Tax Office and its infrastructure.
Gibson was in Parliament to deliver answers to questions Members of Parliament (MPs) posed a week ago about the country’s financial outlook. The amount of the loan may be increased, he said, depending on what is needed to make the upgrades a reality.
Questioned by MPs about implementing short-term tax reform to boost compliance, Gibson said this should be warned against and focus should be put on restructuring the entire tax system.
The focus must be on making the Tax Department stronger, he said. The Tax Department has to send out a “strong” message and assessments that will not end up in a court case. A strong message is not being sent out now and that situation can be improved only with proper upgrades in training and equipment, he said.
To bring about change, “you have to invest and that is expensive. … That is the message I am trying to get through here and across the ocean [the Netherlands – Ed.]. … You have to invest now,” said Gibson.
He will meet with the finance ministers of Curaçao and Aruba in Curaçao on Wednesday and Thursday to decide on the acquisition of software and hardware to upgrade their tax departments. Gibson said it was clear that training alone would not better the functioning of the Tax Department to meet the goal of generating better tax compliance.
He also announced in the session that Government via the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs would release its economic framework document at the end of June. MPs have requested that Parliament have input before the document is made public. Gibson said he would convey the request made, in particular by Democratic Party (DP) leader MP Sarah Wescot-Williams to the Council of Ministers.
He also signalled in the meeting held in Parliament House his agreement with United St. Maarten Party (USP) leader MP Frans Richardson’s suggestion for the creation of a residency permit investment programme. He said such a programme had been beneficial for other countries, including St. Kitts.
Source: Daily Herald
Gibson seeks NAf. 20 million loan for Tax Office upgrades