St. Maarten Finance Minister announces “drastic cost saving measures”

POSTED: 10/31/13 11:21 AM

Budget 2014 limited to 420 million guilders

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Hassink and the Board for financial supervision (Cft) both commented on the draft 2014 budget yesterday. Hassink will take the Cft’s message to heart and budget with caution for next year. As budget-ceiling the Cft has advised 420 million guilders – the average government revenue over the past three years. This is 20 million guilders below the 2013 budget.

“We should not budget more expenditures than what we realize in income,” Hassink said at the weekly press briefing. The minister said that in the past successive government have budgeted income and did not follow up on it.

If the country generates more revenue in the course of the year, there is an option to adjust the budget via an amendment. “I expect to submit the budget the coming week to the Council of Ministers,” Hassink said. “It will be quite a challenge to get a balanced budget.”

Because the budget will have to be brought down from 440 to 420 million guilders, the finance minister foresees “drastic cost saving measures and drastic income-increasing measures.” Hassink did not provide specifics yesterday

The deadline to approve the budget is December 15. Some weeks ago Hassink said that he intended to submit the draft-budget to the Council of Ministers by October 15. “That was not an official deadline,” he said yesterday, “but it would have given more time to complete the process. The draft budget will have to go through the Council of Advice. That timespan has now become shorter.”

The Minister said that he has sent letters to the parliament and to the high councils of state (General Audit Chamber, Council of Advice, Social Economic Council and Ombudsman) with a request to cut their budgets for next year by “a certain percentage.”


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