Hassink says budget ready for parliament by end of August

POSTED: 07/25/13 1:06 PM

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Maarten Hassink expects that the amended 2013 budget will be ready to go to parliament by the end of August or early September. Hassink was forced to take 30 million guilders in revenue out of the original budget and replace it with 17 million in alternative revenue. The budget is now balanced at 414 million guilders.

“The amendment was approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday,” Hassink said yesterday at the weekly press briefing. He emphasized that the budget is not only his responsibility, but that of all ministers together. “They are all intensely involved,” Hassink said.

The finance minister has discussed his ideas for the amendments with the financial supervisor Cft. “I expect a reaction from the Cft around August 6,” he said. The draft has also been sent to the Council of Advice from which it could return by half August.

“Then our focus will be on the 2014 budget,” Hassink said. “The first draft has to be submitted to the Cft by October 15. That is quite a challenge but we will do everything possible to make it happen.”

The minister said that the annual account for the year 2010/2011 has been sent to the general audit chamber and that this could go for approval to parliament in September.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said that the 2013 budget also includes more space for capital investments. “Originally there was a ceiling of 30 million guilders – that was just enough to cover the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate. Now it has been increased to 253 million. This includes 48 million to buy out developer RGM from the new government administration building and 24 million guilders to furnish the building.”

The PM said that preparations must be made for plans to move departments to the new building that has been sitting empty on Pond Island for years costing the taxpayer $481,000 per quarter in lease fees since the last quarter of 2007.

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