Minimum wages and Tax increases and a citizen on a war path

Minimum wages and Tax increases

We were told last week that effective Aug 1st the minimum wages will be going up in Aruba. That is clearly a populist move, elections are just 38 days away, and our government must show how caring it is.

The Aruba Trade and Industry obviously protested the extra burden, but the MinFin announced, he already told everyone in March and that commerce was adequately informed.

So, midyear, just like that, voters of a certain demographic enjoyed an unexpected windfall.  Same thing happened by the way in Venezuela where the president also showed how much he cares by augmenting the minimum wages by 60%, but because of that country’s crazy inflation this only amounted to $46.70.

My friends in the car rental business just shared that they have an increase coming. The car rental industry has been paying $1 a car per day, as an environmental fee and now GOA wants to impose a second $1 a day for parking. These fees, by the way, are paid quarterly whether a car is rented out or not. It’s a flat fee of Awg  96.75 x the number of V-permits you have, and it must go to  Goa’s coffers.

Consequently, a tourist renting for 2 weeks is now paying $14 environmental tax and will be required to pay an extra $14 for parking, and this gets expensive fast, because our average tourist doesn’t go downtown that often, perhaps once. Is it worth $7 a week in parking fees? We understand the rental companies will be obliged to pay it whether the car is rented out or not.

Question remains: Is the environmental levy collected going toward environmental protection?

Your guess is as good as mine. Where does the environmental fee go?? Towards the printing of elections propaganda?

One of my friends writes, and I am compelled to give him platform:

Private citizen on a war path.

After previous well-documented reports to the Office of the Public Prosecutor by private citizen Jan de Ruyter in the (a) case of fraud concerning government lands, starring the MinInfra and (b) trading of land lease properties, by a local businesswoman (c) a fraudulent business created with the exchange of work permits for cash starring the former MinLabor, now a forth (d) case has been handed on July 31st, 2017, involving the MinEnergy and the MinPres concerning WEB’s oil hedging deal, which entailed 100% hedging at US$90 per barrel, three times higher than current market level.

According to De Ruyter Valero oil Company was dropped as a supplier and a new locally owned company was incorporated which did the hedging deal supplying WEB at US$90 per barrel and purchasing on open markets for about a third of this amount, thereby making a HUUUUGE PROFIT…In the past WEB purchased oil directly from Coastal and later from Valero.

It is incredible, says my diligent friend, that a citizen has to do all the prep work for the public prosecutor . . . it’s almost as if you have to convince them to do their job . . . that they can’t deny all the facts and the truth is staring them in their faces . . .

Then one of my lawyer friends replies: If you file a claim it has to be substantiated else there is no ground for investigation. Additionally hedging was done by an entity after following the relevant procedure. It will be very difficult to find the MinInfra criminally liable. A director was let go, perhaps the wrong director, but that story is a wash, in spite of the fact that it cost the island 304 million florins. Incidentally, tell you friend he should ask the court to impose a fine for every day that they don’t comply with any resulting verdict.



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August 16, 2017
Rona Coster