Deadline for approved 2014 budget is December 15 – Cft threatens already with next instruction

POSTED: 10/18/13 3:29 PM

GREAT BAY – If Sint Maarten does not have an approved 2014 budget by December 15, the board for financial supervision Cft will advise the Kingdom Council of Ministers to give the country a budget-instruction. This appears from the Cft-advice on the amendment to the 2013 budget that was approved by parliament on September 12. The governor signed the amendment on September 16 and the next day it was sent to the Cft.

The Cft is not at all positive about the way St. Maarten has dealt with the 2013 budget. The financial supervisor notes that compared to an earlier advice from August 5 the approved amendment has undergone hardly any changes. “The (extensive) advice of February 19 has not been followed, with the exception of dropping the at the time current intention to borrow for a Justice Park,” the Cft writes in its advice that is dated September 25.

The Cft therefore still has reservations about the 2013 budget, but it also agrees with what Finance Minister Maarten Hassink has said repeatedly: the priority of all efforts has to go to the 2014 budget.

There is still one big stumbling block though: the Cft advises to execute the budget amendment but to abstain from contracting the intended loans in 2013. The multi-annual projections do not give a correct impression and must be adjusted in the 2014 budget.

The financial supervisor furthermore suggests keeping the vacancy-stop and a stop on new financial commitments in place to prevent the risk of deficits at the end of the year.

“The risks the Cft sees for 2013 are also present in the 2014 budget because they are of a structural nature. Deficits from previous years and payment arrear are to be included over the next couple of years in the budget.”

Putting the 2014 budget together will be an enormous challenge, the financial supervisor warns. “The Cft will review the 2014 budget intensively on all requirements from the Kingdom law. The term for submitting an approved budget will be the first test, to prevent a repeat of the previous year.”

The Cft reminds Minister Hasssink, to whom the address is formally addressed, that by letter of July 8 a time schedule has been agreed upon. This schedule sets the date for a by the Council of Ministers approved budget at October 15 – three days ago. No announcement about such an agreement has been made by Minister Hassink yet.

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