Food for thought

Food for thought

The Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) based on preliminary results of a private sector survey in the monetary union (see related story) came to basically the same conclusion as the report “Spurring entrepreneurship in St. Maarten” highlighted on Monday’s front page: Getting required permits to establish a business on the island is cumbersome and takes too long.
This is nothing new, mind you. Practically every government – ministers concerned in particular – over the years has pledged to “cut red tape” and stimulate the economy.
However, according to respondents to CBCS’ questionnaire, bureaucracy is in fact increasing and impedes the investment climate. They say it takes on average about six months to legally start a company, while the World Bank cites approximately 100 days even in a “poor” regulatory environment.
The St. Maarten entrepreneurship study by University of Amsterdam in collaboration with the Economic Bureau Amsterdam (EBA) and Tackling Law Office calls for reform of the current licensing system. A “one-stop-shop” setup was suggested, another term often used but rarely fully implemented by political authorities and civil servants.
Speaking of which, the report proposes that the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) delegate decision-making on business permits to the secretary-general. That’s especially topical now, after the minister was on sick leave for several months before recently stepping down due to health reasons.
In any case, both publications contain important findings and recommendations that certainly provide his successor with food for thought to make this more of a “Friendly Island” also for legitimate and, above all, bona-fide investors, at a time when they are badly needed as part of the ongoing recovery process.

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