Willemstad, January 10, 2021
What a tough and abnormal year 2020 was! Many people are happy that 2020 is over. All sectors have suffered from the impact of the pandemic. The financial sector has also suffered a dent in local, but also international financial services. Many people have lost their jobs and hope during 2020. “CIFA is positive about 2021, despite the tough past year, considering that there are bright spots on the horizon at the beginning of 2021; vaccination programs are being rolled out and countries have largely organized their financial resources and recovery plans.” At CIFA we have a realistic strategy for 2021. “Our sector is one of the largest sectors of Curaçao and can make a crucial contribution to help the economy back on its feet,” says Mrs. Nacha de Jesus, Chair of the CIFA Board. “Especially in times of uncertainty, we need to be able to dream and look ahead and visualize positive prospects!” True to tradition, CIFA reports on the goals it has achieved over the past year, while announcing its objectives for 2021.
What has been achieved in 2020?
During the past unusual year, CIFA has worked hard to achieve its intended objectives. Board meetings and General Members meeting took place virtually immediately after the lockdown. And despite the limitations of the lockdown and measures surrounding the pandemic and the economic challenges Curaçao was facing even before the pandemic, several important milestones have been achieved.
Important steps have been taken once the roadmap for the year has been approved at the beginning of 2020. A committee has been set up to analyze the Foreign Exchange License, and several other committees have been set to work to address, among other things, the various changes needed to address the issues facing the international financial services industry. More specifically, this concerns the so-called “Substance” regulations which are set as the international standard. In this context, the international tax rules have been amended in recent years, which has a direct impact on the legislation and therefore on the sector in Curaçao. As a result of these changes, the service providers, including the trust offices, have to offer other types of work in addition to the existing activities, which are more integrated in the business organizations of their international clients and thus provide more added value to the business chain of their international clients. International banks and the gaming industry have also received the necessary attention in this respect.
Much has been done to share knowledge and build on existing and new networks. CIFA has also developed a new marketing strategy, which will be used as a guideline to market the financial sector abroad in 2021. The Tax Taskforce, in cooperation with various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten, designed and supervised the transition from offshore legislation to a new internationally approved profit tax. Guidelines have been drawn up for the qualification of ‘Domestic Income’ in profit tax and an agreement has been reached for a decree to prevent double taxing. In addition, CIFA, as usual, regularly fulfilled its advisory role towards the government with regard to financial issues and financial tax and legal regulations.
CIFA calls for openness to change
“Only if we are really open to change and change our attitude will opportunities be realized,” says De Jesus. “In practice this means that we have to be open to the experiences of others and share as much knowledge as possible. Only then can we make the changes and knowledge our own and continue ‘on our own two feet’. Some specialist knowledge, for example, is simply not yet present on Curacao. We have to get this knowledge from outside and learn from it”. “And in those cases where this expertise does exist in the private sector, it is important that this expertise is brought together in a positive public-private partnership for the best possible end product for our country in general and our sector in particular”.
CIFA has formulated a total of 10 objectives for 2021, which can be achieved with this open attitude and approach:
- Drastically improve immigration regulations and procedures. In practice, this means that foreign specialists or investors will receive their permit within one week.
- Address changes needed in the Fund Sector
- Set up a Training & Accreditation Centre for the financial sector
- Address the challenges in the Gaming sector
- Finalize International Tax treaties.
- Continue to tackle the overall tax reform – which has already started in 2019 – in cooperation with stakeholders.
- Greater involvement with CIFA members.
- Roll out the marketing strategy to improve the position of the financial sector abroad
- Complete the plans of the “Substance” committee
- Implement the guidelines of the Innovation Box
In short, CIFA has an ambitious agenda for 2021! “We commit ourselves to continue to work hard and constructively for the recovery and growth of our economy”.
CIFA’s slogan for 2021 is “Open up for Change”. The board of CIFA, on behalf of CIFA, wishes the entire community of Curacao a healthy and successful year!
The CIFA Board consists of Nacha de Jesus, Roland Beunis, Bryan Irausquin, Giovanny Pieternelle, Tjarda Tazelaar, Julian Lopez Ramirez and Sueena Francisco.
CIFA would like to invite everyone to view the video message on the CIFA website: www.cifa-curacao.com. The video message provides more information about the achieved goals of CIFA and the planned goals for 2021.
For more information, press only:
PR Contact Name: Andreina Garcia
Phone number: +5999 5128212