Future Valero remains uncertain
27 Mei, 2010, 08:34 (GMT -04:00)

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ORANJESTAD — The enactments for lowering the tax on profits and tax on dividends for Valero and the cancellation of the sales tax on export will most likely be discussed by the parliament this Saturday. Parliament-chairman Andy Lee (AVP) informed Amigoe this afternoon, that the request to submit the States-questions of all parties before 12 o’clock today was honored.

If the cabinet also answers these questions on time – which is tomorrow at the latest – then the discussion can be held on Saturday, says Lee. In order to make the agreement between the Aruban government and Valero legal, the government urged the parliament to discuss the enactments before June 1st, as the Advisory Council had already submitted their advice on the agreement last Wednesday. States-chairman Lee previously announced he did not agree with the pressure from the government to discuss the enactments on such short term. However, he eventually indicated to do his utmost to oblige the government regarding its request.

In the meantime, the parties in the parliament are already taking their positions regarding this matter.
Party-leader Rene Herdé of government party AVP emphasizes there would be ‘too many risks’ for the Valero-employees if the discussion on the agreement was not held before June 1st. Parliamentarian Xiomara Maduro (MEP) finds that the States-chairman is too lenient towards ‘letting a multinational have its way’ by agreeing to a swift discussion of the enactments. Maduro points out that the complexity of the enactments requires meticulousness from the State-members and therefore more time to study these. The MEP-party had issued a press report this week in which they state that tax advantage for Valero will eventually not guarantee the jobs of its employees. For that matter, Valero could still decide to keep the refinery closed. “It is not fair that the rest have to pay the full amount while a multinational receives several windfalls”, says Maduro.

PDR party-leader Andin Bikker also wants the small- and medium-sized businesses to receive a tax-decrease in the form of a reduction on the tax on profits. Bikker is of the opinion that the tax regulation in the memorandum between the government and Valero strongly resembles the so-called imputation-N.V., ‘with a few differences amongst which a guaranteed minimum on tax on profits per year and the cancellation of the sales tax on export’. The PDR-leader points out that amongst others in the Netherlands and the United States, the small- and medium-sized businesses receive reductions on the tax burden in order to create more jobs. “Other islands within the Kingdom are currently lowering their tax on profits and will compete with Aruba in this field”, says Bikker.

The refinery at San Nicolas has been closed now for nearly one year. In the agreement, Valero promised to pay the salaries of the Aruban employees until June 1st. In this respect, the government amongst others promised to cancel the sales tax on export and charge less tax on profits. It is currently not clear what will happen to the refinery after June 1st.