Tuitt needs to cut 100 million guilders from 2013 draft budgetPOSTED: 08/30/12 1:19 PM
St. Maarten – Saturday September 1 will be D-day for the government of St.Maarten to submit the draft 2013 budget to the board for financial supervision (Cft) and the Council of Advice. A ceiling of 434 million guilders is what Finance Minister Roland Tuitt wants to present as a balanced budget but a deficit of approximately 100 million guilders may make this difficult and delay the process.
“The ministries have submitted their individual budgets with all of their wishes and if we take that into consideration, then the deficit is 100 million guilders. We cannot comply with all the wishes of all of the ministries; we will only comply with their critical wishes,” the minister said at yesterdays’ weekly Council of Ministers press briefing.
Tuitt aims to have a balanced budget by the end of the week. If the government fails to meet the September 1 deadline then the 2013 draft budget may be delayed by one week’s time, at most, the minister said.
Tuitt explained that because of the stringent requirements placed on the country, many ministries attempted to have their programs become a part of the budget which also contributed to a larger deficit. He added that St.Maarten looks forward to a new government in the Netherlands to discuss the requirements that were placed on the island and possibly review the plans of approach.
“If we look at the whole process after 10.10.10 then we will see that Curacao had all of the institutions, all of the manpower and sometimes all of the money available to do certain things and the bill remained after 10.10.10. The same requirement has been placed on St.Maarten and they expect us to reach the same level as Curacao, with which money?” the minister questioned.
He added, “We cannot have a deficit in the budget, we cannot have a higher interest, so the norm that they give us is the same as Curacao but it doesn’t make sense because if I have to build up something, it costs money. You will have to give me more space either in my operational budget or my investment costs to be able to reach the standard that Curacao has right now,” Tuitt concluded.
With regard to amendments to the 2012 budget, the finance minister said that, “It is going through the process and as far as I understand it went to the Advisory Council already.” The amendments to the 2012 budget were approved by the Cft in July. It includes items like the cost of living adjustments for civil servants and teachers. The amendments will now have to go to parliament for final passage.
Minister Tuitt also took the opportunity to announce that the department of salaries had been temporarily relocated to the Government Administration Building pending repairs on its existing offices.