National holiday costs Suriname SRD 50 million

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – The price tag for every holiday is SRD 50 million, but if the authorities decide to cut back on the number of national holidays, bringing the total from 15 to five, the country would be able to save SRD half a billion a year. Accountant Haroen Karamat, special consultant for the national holidays, calculated that in Suriname there are only 249 productive days. The accountant has made a calculation of the financial consequences of holidays based on the 2010 GDP.

Karamat’s calculations were among the topics discussed at a seminar ‘National Holidays’ held in the Wyndham Garden Hotel yesterday. Bishop Steve Meye of the God’s Bazuin Ministries is convinced that the number of national holidays needs a cut back, but he argues for retaining internationally recognized religious holidays. He proposes the creation of a system that allows special days for the different groups in society. These days do not necessarily have to be a national holiday.

Karamat who represented the Association of Store Owners (VVW) tells  de Ware Tijd that if Saturdays and Sundays are added to the 15 national holidays, it would amount to 166 days off per year, which is the equivalent of five months free pay. If the 2010 GDP, SRD 9.9 billion, is divided by the remaining 249 days it comes to SRD 40 million. With a margin of error of 25 percent this would amount to SRD 50 million per day. The accountant proposes to cluster a number of national holidays, cutting back the total to five.

He proposes the first day of Christmas, 1 July as Immigration Day, Independence Day and two other days which the government could determine later on. By restructuring the number of holidays the government will be able to save SRD 500 million. The new measures would not cost the state a cent if implemented, the expert says. “Internationally recognized religious holidays may not be surrendered under any circumstances, because they are celebrated across the globe,” says Meye, referring to mainly the Christian holidays. He proposes a free day for special religious, ethnic and cultural groups without elevating these days to national holidays. The special groups and the country would benefit greatly from this system. He added that if Karamat’s calculations are right Suriname seriously needs to reevaluate its productivity.

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