Van Rij discusses taxation, banking during Saba visit

Dutch State Secretary of Finance Marnix van Rij and a delegation of the Ministry of Finance visited Saba for one day on Tuesday, December 20. Van Rij came to Saba after visiting St. Eustatius on Monday in connection with the Kingdom-wide event to reflect on the role of the Dutch State in the history of slavery.

Island Council members, from right, Hemmie van Xanten, Carl Buncamper, Eviton Heyliger and Vito Charles and Chairman Jonathan Johnson (at head of table) with State Secretary Marnix van Rij (third from left) and members of his delegation.

After their arrival from St. Eustatius, the delegation first had a meeting with the Executive Council and then with the Island Council. In the afternoon, the delegation met with the Tax Office and visited Fort Bay harbor and the waste management facility before continuing to Bonaire. Two relevant topics were discussed during his visit: double taxation and banking.

Having lived on St. Eustatius before, Van Rij said he was very much aware that on a small island mostly everything had to be imported and that the double taxation on goods coming from St. Maarten is an issue. Saba residents first have to absorb the 5% turnover tax that is levied in St. Maarten and on top of that the 6% general tax on goods and services ABB on Saba.

The issue of double taxation was explicitly raised during his visit to Saba, Van Rij. He confirmed that a solution was being worked on with St. Maarten and that an update would be provided in January next year, along with other tax matters.

About the other pressing issue, the banking situation, Van Rij said that it was “unacceptable” that in 2022 a basic service like this was not working properly. “It is a complicated issue which I will raise with the Minister of Finance. We are discussing several possible solutions because this really needs to be solved.” In general, Van Rij said he was impressed with the developments and improvements that he saw on Saba.

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