PHILIPSBURG–National Alliance (NA) leader Member of Parliament (MP) Silveria Jacobs has called on government to look into a levying a tax on Internet data as a new stream of income for its diminishing coffers.
In the recent budget debate, Jacobs asked Telecommunications Minister Cornelius de Weever: “Can we not look into tax on data as a means of generating revenue?” Her suggestion stemmed from the perceived high data usage in the country.
His response was: “While it may seem as a quick fix to tax this service and generate additional income, it will be a demerit solution as it will make us less attractive for investment. A stable, reliable and affordable Internet network is fundamental in attracting business and new investment to the island. Therefore, our aim as a ministry is seeking ways to reduce this cost rather than increase it.”
The Telecommunication Ministry has identified in its draft Economic Development Plan that the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and the availability of Internet at an affordable cost are critical elements in attracting new investment to the country.
The comparative cost of Internet is currently more expensive on the Dutch side than it is on the French side, De Weever pointed out.
Jacobs also queried the number of gigabytes of data are supplied to the subscribers by St. Maarten Telephone Group of Companies TelEm and United Telecommunication Service (UTS).
UTS, according to De Weever, supply a ballpark figure of 1.5 million gigabytes while the output of TelEm is “unknown.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76465-jacobs-suggests-tax-on-internet