Budget amendment for refinancing of COVID-19 loans sent to Dutch Parliament

August 29, 2023  –HAGUE – Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Hanke Bruins Slot, has formally paved the way for the refinancing of the COVID-19 loans for Curaçao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten. She has submitted a budget amendment to the Second Chamber of Parliament today for this purpose. 

An interesting passage in the explanatory memorandum indicates that the intention had apparently been for the loans (totaling over 1.1 billion euros) to be repaid by October 10th. This seems to overlook the fact that a year ago, when the loans were granted, it was abundantly clear to all parties involved that the countries would need decades to reduce their debt, if they ever manage to do so given their fragile public finances. 

With this budget amendment, the government is preempting the ongoing negotiations concerning the conditions that the Netherlands imposes on the refinancing. The outcomes of these negotiations will determine the interest rate, the term, and the repayment schedule. Without an agreement, the countries will pay an interest rate between 6% and 8%. If they do agree to the terms, the interest rate will be 3.1%. It is expected that State Secretary for Kingdom Relations, Van Huffelen, will provide clarity to the Chamber next week. 

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