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Aruba borrowed money from the Netherlands to survive the pandemic. We agree to these three conditions out of necessity, because there was no other way

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Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes at Aruba government press conference Monday

in the morning, an extensive explanation was given about RAFT and negotiations with the Netherlands. Prime Minister emphasized that in order to better understand this topic, it is important to return to the year 2020 when the Pandemic knocked at our door and the Netherlands were the only one where Aruba could turn to borrow money.

Loss of income and extra expenses

At that time, revenue losses amounted to 834 million guilders. Apart from the loss of income in the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, there have been additionally very big expenses that normally the government does not carry, among other ‘The FASE Project’ of 79 million guilders; project for financial support with loans to medium and small businesses (mkb) of 44 million guilders; Salary subsidies of 415 million guilders; and invested an extra 177 million guilders to maintain AZV funds and a solid SVB. To achieve all this, the government of Aruba had to borrow 916 million guilders from the Netherlands.

Subsidies

The prime minister remarked that like Countries including Spain and Greece, in March 2020 that covid knocked at our door, Aruba asked the Netherlands to help us with a subsidy, money that do not have to pay back, but not with loans. The immediate decision of the Netherlands was that no subsidy or “donation”, but a loan. In an article by the former Secretary of State at the time, Raymond knops, who was published in May 2020, in his statement he pledged that if the countries of the kingdom showed sufficient recovery, the Netherlands would be able to grant waivers. This is a statement he gave on May 21, 2020 in the Dutch parliament. Mr. Knops coupled a waiver to reforms or conditions.

Aruba agreed to conditions

In November 2020, Aruba agreed to 3 conditions to get money. The first condition was that Aruba would  accept a “mutual regulation”, an agreement where would define which reforms are important, the ‘Package of Measures’. The second condition was that a Kingdom Law for Reform would be introduced, which was the CHE that became COHO and later became ‘Mutual Regulation’. The third condition is the kingdom’s law for financial supervision, RAFT. While Curacao and Sint Maarten only had to comply with the last two conditions, Aruba encountered three conditions, with RAFT added. We agree to these three conditions out of necessity, because there is no other way,” the prime minister emphasized.

At that time, the prime minister remarked, it was estimated that there were 40 thousand adult citizens of Aruba depending on the money that the government had to give them either through FASE, Wage Subsidies, and with other supports that the government provided at that time. One in two adults depended on the government, was the reason why the government also agreed to these three conditions. “The government then had a lot of pressure from the community to sign up to finish, and this is what the government did too and got money to survive,” the Prime Minister said.

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