SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament (MP) Solange Ludmila Duncan recently submitted a number of questions to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT), respectively, regarding their ministries’ plans for the development of locally-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
With a significant growth in small businesses and entrepreneurship on St. Maarten over the last 2 years, the MP is curious to know Government’s plan to stimulate local industries. She also looks forward to a collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and TEATT in the coming months.
“As a former senior policy advisor for Government, I am well aware of the need for more cohesion and joint collaboration on fiscal and economic policy and I believe these two ministries in particular need to work more closely together to effectively address economic issues on St. Maarten,” stated the MP.
MP Duncan suggests the establishment of a standing inter-ministerial committee between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of TEATT tasked with a number of objectives including policy alignment to ensure coherence on joint concerns pertaining to MSMEs and entrepreneurs such as taxes and business license fees.
MP Duncan believes that it is extremely important to create such an environment that local entrepreneurs and business owners receive relief when needed and more importantly the tools and support necessary to allow them to thrive and succeed on St. Maarten. The MP also wants Government to pay keen attention to the needs of women business owners in particular. “St. Maarten’s women have always been progressive; as leaders in the community and in business but we need to ensure that they are empowered.”
The MP sees a need for improved cooperation and partnership between Government and the private sector to stimulate local investment and business development through various types of projects. “Our banks and other commercial organizations need to play a role as well in the development of MSMEs and entrepreneurship on St. Maarten. It’s a win-win for the economy and our people when all sectors get involved behind a common purpose; economic development.”
MP Duncan is working on a small business development law that aims to encourage, strengthen and protect local MSME’s as an approach to economic diversification and empowerment and looks forward to working with Government and the private sector on initiatives that will accomplish such.