"Not a tax-paradise, but an investment-paradise"

The new Country Curaçao should not become a tax paradise, but a paradise for investors. This was the main message in the speech held by Bryan Irausquin, Chairman of the Curaçao International Financial Services Association Sector (Cifa), during the Fatum Pension- and Business-Day yesterday. During his speech, Irausquin presented his vision for the future of the financial sector on Curaçao.

The financial sector is not competitive according to Irausquin. There are many parties who are ahead of the Antilles, and the Government is under pressure of the European Union, the United States, and the OECD to take measures.
Furthermore, in the practice it appears that the legislation course is too slow, that the bureaucracy delays the issuance of permits, and that the labor legislation raises too many obstacles for "knowledge"migrants who want to reside here. The IT-infrastructure could also improve and become cheaper according to Irausquin. All in all the Cifa-Chairman concludes a lack of vision.
During the past period, there was much discussion on the term ‘tax-paradise’. In his speech, Irausquin therefore dwells on the question whether the Antilles is a tax-paradise or not. He points out that nine years ago, the Antilles made a choice that it would no longer be a tax-paradise, but the transitional arrangements of the current offshore regime are still in force until 2019. However, the main products are still based on the tax system, while the Antilles are still on the grey list of the OECD.

Irausquin concludes that during the past years the Antilles have not succeeded in casting off the image of a tax-paradise. While this situation continues, the sector diminishes each year, the Cifa-Chairman warns.
Irausquin suggests that the Country Curaçao on the way to a self-governing status, becomes a paradise for investors.
Low taxes by themselves will not provide for a competition advantage, says the Cifa-Chairman. He points out that the new Country Curaçao should consider the international guidelines and the market needs, and should also create an infrastructure enabling Curaçao to become a favorite place of business in the region for legitimate companies instead of the so-called ‘P.O.Box-companies’. In order to accomplish this, amongst others, the budget must enable this by means of the debt reconstruction course, which is currently being implemented. Our mission should be to elevate the Country Curaçao above politics and other interests.

According to the Cifa-chairman, it is therefore important that all those involved in the sector agree on a number of priority issues and implement these as well. This concerns amongst others the creation of a favorable business climate; that the economical policy becomes the spearhead action of the government (this loss must be compensated by debt reconstruction and indirect taxes); that an optimal IT-infrastructure is being created and that the legislation process is accelerated.
Finally, Irausquin also makes a case for a well-establihes supervision of the sector. Irausquin expects that, once these priorities are implemented, this will amongst others provide for a contribution to the economy of the Country Curaçao and that Curaçao can become a logistic hub to and from Latin America. This will finally result in more employment and welfare for the island.

(Source: National newspaper Amigoe)

June 13, 2009

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