In response to the MinFec’s recent press conference and visit to parliament

MinFec reported on corrections in the 2020 budget, in view of the fact that our economy shrunk by 33%. I think perhaps more. My humble opinion. GOA, she said, tried to maintain lower expenses, and certain investments were postponed until next year, for example, the Cannabis initiative, projected to bring in an income of Awg 15M. Finally, thanks to cuts here and there, the deficit is now reduced to Awg 1.1B instead of the previously projected Awg 1.3.

Additionally, a piece of good news, the budget for 2021, will reach parliament as early as November 2020, for approval.

I heard my friends, business people in the private sector groan. That’s an amazing amount of money. If we burn one billion florins EXTRA per year, without investment, without getting anything in return, that is just wasteful. As an island, we continue to import everything, paying in dollars, trying to protect our foreign currency reserves. But those were severely affected by the declining number of visitors and their imported Yankee dollars. We need to make every dollar we spend, but it is a great challenge to make them. Thus we must save. Not “try” to save, but really save.

It is tragic that all we get in the way of reform is avoidance, vague promises and procrastination, blaming others, and living in denial.

Instead of starting to really lower structural overhead costs for our economy, and to find ways to do the same for less, to eliminate waste so our precious tax florins will not be burnt up, no one says anything about reform. These are the things we hear nothing about.

If we had worked diligently on this since the crisis began, we would have saved tens of millions of florins. These florins would be structural savings. So they would never be needed again. In 10 years we would have saved perhaps 1B florin.

At 4M florin a day in expenses, there is a lot of opportunity for improvement.

The bad news? We obviously do not want to direct our collective minds to do this. Not even an attempt is made to lower the committed expense levels of this country.

DIFFICULT TO KEEP UP II. A strong combination of valium and Dramamine sustained me through the first USA presidential debate, last night, one for my nerves, the other for the nausea. CNN ‘s Jake Tapper called the disgrace a hot mess, a dumpster fire, a train wreck. It is mind boggling that the so-called biggest/wealthiest country in the world stooped to such a low level of public discourse.

My wish is for us to watch the spectacle, and internalize the lesson, that we may disagree, but never lose respect for each other. Because the loss of respect leads to disdain, and then a relationship is impossible.

I hope we keep talking, and maintain communication lines open, because I sometimes express alternative views but I would still like to greet our officials respectfully, and safeguard dialogue channels, without the Chef of Protocol sending me, or any opinionated citizen, home, to wash my tush, a juicy Papiamento pearl, that sends its subject to hell.

THE CENTRAL BANK REACTS. We haven’t heard any commentary from the CBA throughout this economic crisis, nor in the last 10 years about the wasteful ways of our country’s economy. They have however tightened the noose around spending, diligently tapping all leakage, or seepage of hard currency out of the country. One of my girlfriends just reported that CBA instructed Aruba Bank to demand the closing of joint accounts with her children, studying in Europe. These had to shut down, effective immediately, and only special student accounts may remain. We also heard from CBA this week, with a lengthy response when a graduate student from the economic faculty of Amsterdam, now a doctor of development studies from a pretty well-known institute, wrote critically about our monetary disasters, prompting the venerated vestige of economic control to make considerable noise.


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September 30, 2020
Rona Coster