St. Maarten Government’s tight financial position continues next year

POSTED: 05/27/11 2:00 PM

St. Maarten – With the “hard and sometimes bothersome” process of finalizing the 2011 budget behind them the Government of St. Maarten has begun preparation of the 2012 Budget. Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto makes the revelation in his financial note for 2011, which he submitted to parliament earlier this week.
Shigemoto also announces in the note that government will continue to be in stiff financial position even though 30 million guilders in incidental expenditures which are being made in 2011, will not reappear in 2012.
“We expect tension on the budget because of vacancies that will be filled in during 2011 (+ 15 million guilders), the termination of financing for critical functions by Usona (- 3 million guilders) and the back service effect if wages are indexed (+ 10 million),” the minister writes in the note.
“This means that our elasticity will remain limited again next year and it also means that we have to make progress with our efforts to increase income and cut expenditures,” Shigemoto said.
The Minister had also told MPs in his note that the budget will likely top off at 438 million guilders based on the long term forecasts. The 2011 budget is 420.9 million guilders and Shigemoto predicts the additional money will be consumed by the general indexes for wages and prices.
The Minister expects things will go better in the preparation of the 2012 budget and pointed out the two main challenges around the 2011 budget were the fact that preparations for the budget started when St. Maarten was still part of the Netherlands Antilles and the government had to fit the budget to its new structure as a country.
“Now we have the budget for 2011 finalized and our governmental organization is nearly installed, so that our starting position is much better than last year. Most ministries already have been putting together a draft for the budget 2012, so we seem to have enough time to prepare a country budget 2012 that meets all criteria and balances,” Shigemoto said.

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