Shigemoto announces new approach on 2010 annual accounts

POSTED: 10/17/11 11:46 AM

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto has gotten concurrence from the Board of Financial Supervision (Cft) to split up his presentation of the government’s accounts for 2010. The first set of accounts will cover January 1, 2010 to October 9, 2010 and covers the final period when St. Maarten was an Island Territory that was part of the Netherlands Antilles. The second part, which will run from October 10, 2010 to January 31, 2010 will form part of the annual accounts for 2011 and reflect the first, just over two months of country status.
Even though the Cft has given their concurrence in a letter received by the minister on October 11, 2011, parliament will still need to give their approval, as the approach as proposed by the minister is a deviation from the Accountability Ordinance.
“Government is ensuring that aspects of good governance and transparency are fulfilled with respect to this approach. The Cft has been informed and they said they will approve this approach. The entire process is expected to be completed within a month,” Shigemoto stated in a press release.

Once parliament gives its approval to the approach a draft copy of the annual accounts will be sent to the Cft. The minister also plans to request the input of the General Audit Chamber.
It is clear from the minister’s release that the government did not meet the September 1 deadline for submitting the annual accounts to the Audit Chamber. It also becomes clear that the minister is seeking to address a key point in the Audit Chamber’s annual report. The body had pointed out that the financial administration of the Island Territory did not close on October 9, 2010 and transactions continued to be recorded in the old system – Island Territory. This created a lack of distinction between the financial administration of the island territory and the country, which would make control and auditing “extremely challenging.”

In their report the Chamber also pointed out that they sent the minister a memorandum on May 26, 2011 suggesting he do a project to close the records of the island territory as of October 10, 2010 and requested he ensure the financial records for 2011 conform with the relevant legislation.
“The importance of having proper financial administration for a full fiscal year of 2011 is critical. This project should start by mid-year 2011, rather than allowing the issue to persist. The consequences of not addressing the deficiencies of the financial administration will impact the ability of government to produce an annual account as is required by law,” the Audit Chamber stated in its report.

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