Government St. Maarten seeking refinancing options for small entrepreneurs

PHILIPSBURG--Government is currently working on securing refinancing options for small entrepreneurs in the country such as taxis, small sole proprietors, mom-and-pop shops, etc.
 
Finance Minister Michael Ferrier told The Daily Herald this over the weekend.
 
Government is also looking at possibilities to come up with “a viable solution” for persons who are unemployed, those with mortgage payments due and those in fear of bank foreclosure on their principal residence.
 
“Separately we are looking at possibilities as soon as the Trust Fund is established to get a serious amount of dollars placed in an account at the Central Bank [of Curaçao and St. Maarten – Ed.] to be used for refinancing through our local commercial banks of larger businesses that more and more are spiralling into Irma-induced financial crises, subject to very special interest rates and ultra-favourable repayment conditions,” Ferrier said. “This in an effort to help them carry over and survive the balance of this year and deep into next year.”
 
He said these financial care packages will be specifically aimed at “buying St. Maarten time” for Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and large hotel and timeshare properties to get back online even if only partially, and for the marine sector to “re-launch in earnest, thereby jump-starting our private-sector-driven economy by saving old and creating new job opportunities, while generating tax income for Government.”
 
Simultaneously, Government is also working at fast-tracking a revamp of the country’s Tax Administration to not further burden current taxpayers, but to broaden the taxpayer database and “nudge” those that continuously operate under the tax radar to become tax compliant.
 
“This upcoming week, prior to the signing of the agreement between Holland and the World Bank on how the recovery funds will be managed, is crucial. The Government of St. Maarten has repeatedly been told it is ultimately in charge of leading the recovery, and so it is of vital importance that we ultimately determine what projects have priority over others, when Holland finally releases the first major tranche of euros some five months after it so generously made the 550-million-euro pledge, and over seven months after monster Hurricane Irma thrashed our island,” Ferrier noted.

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