Micro-credit funds for Windward Islands

THE HAGUE--The Dutch Government has made 550,000 euros available for micro-credits in the Windward Islands through the non-profit organisation Qredits, Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops confirmed on Monday.
 
Through this financial contribution, Qredits will be able to offer micro-credits with favourable conditions to (re)starting entrepreneurs in St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba which will help in the restoring of employment and the confronting of the economic challenges since Hurricane Irma.
 
A total amount of 550,000 euros has been made available for the first 90 loans as part of this arrangement which should kick off late January, Knops State Secretary announced in his letter to the Dutch Parliament in reaction to a letter the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of St. Eustatius and Saba has sent to The Hague. More details on this micro-credit programme will be announced at a later date.
 
The Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations asked Knops on December 6, 2017, for a reaction to the Chamber’s letter dated October 27, 2017. In that letter, the Chamber outlined the great economic challenges St. Eustatius and Saba face after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, especially in the tourism sector.
 
The Chamber asked State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Climate Mona Keijzer to consider a number of measures that would support the two smaller islands’ economies. Mentioned were cheap credits for entrepreneurs, financial contributions for marketing campaigns and the improving of the islands’ accessibility.     
 
Knops stated in his letter that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate was in charge of decisions regarding financial contributions for marketing campaigns. The Ministry has referred the islands to the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism and Congresses regarding expertise of marketing. Saba has already made use of this possibility.
 
Knops explained that the Dutch Government aims to improve the air connections in the Caribbean Netherlands. This concerns connections between St. Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire, and between St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Kitts. Talks are still ongoing and supportive measures are being worked on, stated Knops.
 
The Daily Herald

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