Saba’s acting Island Governor Shamara “Amelia” Nicholson (left) and Minister Carola Schouten, with the solar parks in the background.
THE HAGUE--Close to 3,900 households in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will get a compensation of US $850 for the steeply increased energy costs.
Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Katrien van Gennip and Minister of Poverty Policy, Participation and Pensions Carola Schouten stated this in a letter they sent to the Permanent Committee for Social Affairs and Labor of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday.
The committee had submitted a number of questions to the two ministers with regard to the change to the budget of Social Affairs and Labor for the year 2022 to accommodate the energy compensation with low-income households in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands.
The committee specifically wanted to know the price versus quality aspect of the allocation of the 3.4 million euros that the Dutch government is making available for the compensation of increased energy costs in the Caribbean Netherlands.
In total, the Dutch government has made 854 million euros available to provide an energy allowance for households with an income of up to 120 per cent of the social minimum. In the Netherlands, some 800,000 households will receive a one-time compensation of 800 euros.
In the Caribbean Netherlands, about 3,850 households, or about 39 per cent of the population in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, will receive a one-time amount of around $850 to help pay for the risen costs of electricity and fuel. The Dutch government used the same points of departure that are applied in the Netherlands to calculate the amount that the households in the Caribbean Netherlands receive.
Ministers van Gennip and Schouten explained that the 3.4 million euros will be added to the one million euros that the Dutch government had already reserved for the Caribbean Netherlands when initially a compensation of 200 euros would be given per household.
Of the 3.4 million euros, 2.3 million euros are reserved to finance the additional 600 euros per household, so the total amount would be 800 euros. Translated in US Dollars, this will amount to about $850 per household.
The Dutch government is further making 1.1 million euros available for the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba so the local governments can provide specific assistance to households in need.
The thought behind this additional funding is that basic poverty is higher on the islands than in the Netherlands as long as the benchmark for the social minimum has not been realised in the Caribbean Netherlands.
According to the most recent information of the central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), 300 households (22 per cent) in St. Eustatius and 100 householders in Saba (15 per cent) have an income of up to 75 per cent of the benchmark for the social minimum, the amount that is needed to pay the monthly bills and to cover the basic costs to sustain themselves.
In St. Eustatius, 450 households (37 per cent) have an income up to 110 per cent of the benchmark social minimum and in Saba it concerns 250 households, or 32 per cent. In St. Eustatius, 550 households (43 per cent) have an income up to 125 per cent of the benchmark social minimum and in Saba there are 250 households (37 per cent) that earn up to 125 per cent of the benchmark social minimum.