Landspakket Aruba

Aruba and the Netherlands signed the mutual arrangement on November 13, 2020, says the document under discussion today, the Landspakket, setting a time line for the introduction of a wide range of reforms and investments, which should make us and our economy stronger.

The economy of Aruba must be sustainable economically, it states, gaining growth and earning capacity, thus good governance, solid public finances and social programs must contribute to a country able to withstand crisis.

The pandemic, the documents continues, unmasked our underlying weaknesses, but also presents opportunities for citizens and businesses, outlined over 15 pages

The Landspakket includes measures to be implemented in: Aruba’s Financial

Management; Costs and Effectiveness of the Public Sector; Taxes; the Financial Sector;

the Economy; Healthcare; Education and Strengthening the Rule of Law.

Both our MinPres and State Secretary Knops, who jointly signed the document agree: The need for reform is high, the ambition great, the challenges complex.

But they also warn against over ambition and recommend a realistic approach. (That is always a key word to slow down!)

The Landspakket outlines the priorities of our national agenda for the next YEARS, and the implementation of the agenda is not without obligation. Both Aruba and the Netherlands are committed to the plan, and since it is a LIVING DOCUMENT they agreed to tweak it as the plod along and we’d better get busy, otherwise no additional liquidity support!

The document lists monumental tasks, and completion dates, yet every single step starts with assessment. The Dutch do nothing before they collect data and think about it, so the timetable provide will be subject to change, because things move slow on the island.

A reader writes: I cannot find anywhere in the text that the current GOA is way too big and expensive for our small island to carry. it looks like everything stays the same and some “efficiencies” are looked for and implemented. But if the total cost of GOA stays the same, we are still dead in the water.

In our best-times we could not produce enough money to pay our bills, we ran huge deficits. Aruba went into debt to the tune of 1M florins each day for the last decade.

Now, we have roughly half the production, so tax revenues were halved.

Were our expenses halved?

If GOA still costs the same, our daily debt doubles.

We need to start with what we can pay for.

What the total cost of GOA should be.

Right now that looks like a number around 1 to 1.5M a day.

Everything we produce above that we need to set aside for capital projects, such as new roads, schools, the Baby Beach Promenade, the kiosks in Ayo. It all must wait.

So what will GOA look like, at what we can earn and afford each day?

Start with that question.

Then make a plan how to migrate from “current” to “affordable” GOA.

Go backwards.

Start with end result and take it from there.

Sure we would love to have a modern GOA with nice bells, whistles and electronics but WE NEED TO GO BACK TO BASICS FIRST.

And live according to what we can afford.

The Landspakket contain all the right ideas, it wants to look at everything, it wants to assess, it wants to investigate, this will take years.

More about it tomorrow.

According to an article in the AMIGOE out 2021 budget deficit is 900M, and from 2022 this hole must show a surplus of 50M


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February 03, 2021
Rona Coster