Published On: Tue, Dec 14th, 2021

Country package: retirement age to 66 in 2025

PHILIPSBURG — St. Maarten will increase the retirement age to 66 in 2025, “unless independent research shows that this is not necessary and there are alternative proposals with the same budgetary effect.” This appears from the execution agenda of St. Maarten’s country package for the fourth quarter of this year. On December 22, 2020, Prime Minister Jacobs and State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) signed the mutual agreement for the execution of the country package that is linked to the yet to be established COHO (Caribbean Development and Reform Organization).

The package contains 48 measures and 46 associated sub-activities that cover eight fields: financial management, costs and effectiveness of the public sector, taxes, financial sector, economic reform, healthcare, education and strengthening of the constitutional state.

Costs and effectiveness of the public sector tops the list with 13 measures, followed by economic reform (8), strengthening of the constitutional state (7) and taxes (6).

The COHO and St. Maarten will jointly select an independent economic institute that will be tasked with detailing what the structural budgetary effects will be for the financial sustainability of pensions and social benefits if the retirement age goes up to 66 in 2025 and if it would go up further if it is linked to life expectancy. This institute would also be tasked with assessing alternative proposals.

The tender for auditing government-owned companies began on October 15 and will be completed on February 1, 2022. A report about comparative research into the primary, secondary and tertiary labor conditions for public sector employees was completed on November 1 of this year.

The plan to establish the authorized staffing level for the Ministry of Justice has been approved by the Council of Ministers. It has been sent to Parliament for debate and decision making.

The tender for research into the social benefits-system has been completed. The research itself is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of next year. The objective, according to the country package is: “A system of social benefits with an activation function, with the correct incentives combined with an adequate social safety net.”

The plan of approach for reforming the physical and online gambling industry is scheduled to be completed by December 31 of this year. The objective is not to protect gamblers, but to increase revenue for the government.