Government slashes 2016 travel budgets

POSTED: 02/3/16 6:17 PM

St. Maarten News:  The draft 2016 budget that was submitted to parliament on Monday proposes serious slashes in the travel budgets of all government departments. Across the board, the travel budgets have been cut by 16.7 percent. For the high councils of state, the cut is even 43.5 percent, but this number is slightly misleading.

In 2015, the high councils of state – parliament, Council of Advice, General Audit Chamber and Ombudsman – spent 733,000 guilders on travel while there was a budget of 1,250,000. Compared to the real expenditures, the cut is just 3.7 percent.

Representation costs for the high councils of state are going down as well: from the budgeted 266,000 guilders in 2015 to 181,000 this year – a cut of 32 percent. Real costs in 2015 were 249,000 guilders.

The ministry of general affairs spent 528,000 guilders on travel in 2015, way above its budget of 305,000. This year, the ministry will have 254,600 guilders available for travel.

The ministry of finance underspent its 2015 travel budget of 218,000 by more than 80,000 guilders (130,500); this year’s travel budget stands at 182,000 guilders.

The ministry of justice had a travel budget of 456,000 guilders last year, but it spent 798,000 guilders. This year the budget is just 189,000 guilders, a cut of 58.5 percent.

The ministry of education, culture, youth and sports traveled in 2015 for 133,000 guilders, below its budget of 194,000. This year, there is 162,000 guilders available for travel.

The ministry of public health, social development and labor did well in the travel department: it had a budget of 369,500 guilders last year and spent 255,700. This year the budget is 219,000 guilders – a cut of 40.6 percent compared to the 2015 budget.

The ministry of tourism, economic affairs, transport and telecommunication also underspent its travel budget in 2015. There was 392,100 guilders available, but the ministry spent only 206,750 guilders. This year the budget is 16.7 percent below that of 2015, at 326,500 guilders.

The ministry of Vromi stayed mostly at home last year: it spent 44,500 guilders of its 167,000 guilders travel budget. This year the budget is 139,000.

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