Action is Needed, and it is Needed Now.

Just as we were complaining commerce ain’t moving, just sitting there like a lump on a log, trying to keep its head above water, two different letters were dispatched to MinFec and the Council of Ministers.

And just when we were complaining about total lack of communication and transparency from GOA, an update meeting was scheduled with the private sector. Tomnorrow.

The first letter addressed to MinFec with copies to MinPres, MinAsl and the Department of Economic Affairs expressed gratitude for the wage subsidy program but also voiced concern over the yardstick with which decreases in revenue are measured.

Both AHATA and ATIA requested revenue decreases to be measured against March 2019 and not March 2020, that was already hit hard by the pandemic.

The thought was on my mind when I applied for wage subsidies for my company in January, and I am pleased to find out AHATA and ATIA read minds.

The letter to the council of ministers expressed concern and a sense of urgency, for the lack of progress towards the necessary reform, most importantly labor laws. The letter was co-signed by ATIA and KvK.

The document explained, and you should know, that projections for tourism recovery in 2021 indicate ongoing financial difficulty for all companies that depend on tourism for their income. It further states that the pandemic will have its biggest impact on the economy this year, in view of CDC’s decision to require testing for passengers returning to the US. This decision resulted in downward tourism projections, making recovery more difficult.

While in 2020 many companies could still hold on with wage subsidy, reserves, and some income, by 2021 reserves have disappeared and support of the private sector with wage subsidy, is questionable. How much longer will it be granted? 

For the umpteenth time, the private sector expressed its need for tools that will offer a possibility to restructure and innovate. For the economy to grow, businesses have to survive and build. This requires the tools requested by the private sector, the same tools listed in Aruba’s master-plan. Most importantly they are also reflected in the conditions set by the Netherlands, the Landspakket, relating to the government liquidity loans.

We all agree that a labor law reform is OVERDUE. And while we wait for our financial supervision organ to materialize, COHO, the economy is in a tail spin, and we all sit and wait for GOA to save us.

But obviously, GOA has no sense of urgency, and will not get off its butt in an election year, because it is easier to stay put, and reluctantly make changes only when procrastination is exhausted.

I spoke to my accountant yesterday. GOA fears that jobs will be lost with a labor reform, but that is a fallacy, he said. Jobs will be created, because we will be able to hire people short term, without being afraid of getting stuck with the overhead long term.

We need to move towards productivity and efficiency, a doing more with less society, and companies must be given the chance to reorganize and innovate. If we remain business dinosaurs, we will become extinct! 

Action is needed, and it is needed now.



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February 02, 2021
Rona Coster