Amsterdam, Sept. 7, 2020 The Dutch Government said on Monday it would invest 20 billion euros (23.6 billion dollars) in education, infrastructure, as well as research and development projects over five years.
The Finance Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, who said this in Amsterdam, added that the investment would help to strengthen the country’s economy and better shield it from future recessions.
Hoekstra said the government would take advantage of ultra-low interest rates on its bonds to borrow money for the dedicated fund.
“It is clear we have to invest our way out of this crisis. We need to invest in innovation, the jobs of tomorrow and the transition to a sustainable economy,’’ Economy Minister Eric Wiebes said.
The new borrowing will add to Dutch government debt, which is already set to balloon to 60 per cent of gross domestic product next year due to spending on unemployment benefits and support for companies during the coronavirus crisis.
After years of austerity, the Dutch government had brought down its debt to 49 per cent of GDP in 2019.
The Dutch focus on improving government finances has often been criticised by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, which said the Dutch needed to invest more in education and infrastructure to help stimulate economic growth throughout the euro zone.
Investment proposals for the fund will be weighed by an independent committee, including ex-Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the former CEO of Chemicals Company DSM, Feike Sijbesma, and Chip Machine Maker ASML’s (ASML.AS) CEO Peter Wennink.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu