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Begroting 2013 nog steeds niet goedgekeurd op St. Maarten


PHILIPSBURG — Ongeveer 17 miljoen gulden aan inkomsten zijn toegevoegd aan de begroting voor 2013, nadat op advies van het College financieel toezicht (Cft) meer dan 30 miljoen gulden van de begroting was geschrapt. De nieuwe concept-begroting is op dinsdag door de ministerraad goedgekeurd en doorgestuurd naar de Raad van Advies (RvA) en naar het Cft. Naar verwachting zal het Cft voor 6 augustus met een reactie komen.

Minister van Financiën Martin Hassink heeft gisteren bevestigd dat er zowel additionele inkomstenbronnen als extra besparingen zijn opgenomen in de nieuwe begroting, maar weigerde om meer informatie te geven over welke posten het precies betreft. Hij kan pas nadat de RvA en het Cft de wijzigingen hebben goedgekeurd een en ander bekendmaken.

Volgens Hassink werken alle ministeries intensief mee aan het omvormen van de begroting tot een realistische en haalbare begroting. Het Cft moet haar akkoord geven, voordat de RvA zich over de begroting mag buigen. Hassink hoopt dat de begroting eind augustus door het parlement kan worden goedgekeurd, maar een en ander hangt af van de RvA.

Zodra de begroting voor 2013 is afgerond, zullen de ministeries aan de slag gaan met de begroting voor 2014. De concept-begroting 2014 dient midden oktober te worden ingediend bij het Cft.

Bron: Amigoe, Curacao


Hassink says budget ready for parliament by end of August


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.

Bron: Today Newspaper, St. Maarten


NAf. 17m in ‘other income’ added to the 2013 budget


PHILIPSBURG–Some NAf. 17 million in “other income” has been added to the 2013 budget, following the cut of some NAf. 30 million on the recommendation of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT.

The 2013 budget now stands at some NAf. 440 million after the draft amendments that were approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Martin Hassink did not elaborate during Wednesday’s Council of Ministers Press Briefing on the eight major areas he has identified as possible income sources and cost savings to all ministries to streamline their finances. He said he will be able to make these public once they have been deemed feasible by the Advisory Council and CFT.

The amendments have been sent to the Advisory Council and also shared with CFT. The latter is expected to give a reply around August 6.

All ministries are expected to be “intensively involved” in making the budget “realistic and affordable” with the Finance Ministry playing a facilitating role, according to Hassink.

The budget will have to be sent to the Advisory Council following the nod of approval from CFT. The minister hopes the Advisory Council does not take too much time with its review as he would like the changes to be approved by the Parliament by the end of August.

The completion of that process will allow the Finance Ministry and other ministries to shift focus to the “much more important” 2014 budget. Government is on a strict schedule as the first draft of the 2014 budget has to be sent to CFT by mid-October.

While the deadline poses “quite a challenge,” it is possible to meet with “the cooperation of everybody,” said Hassink.

The Ministry of Finance is preparing a vision document outlining measures to ensure sufficient government income in the future to cover all expenses. “It is quite a challenging task. We will emphasise [tax. Ed] compliance issues and look at simplification of the tax system.”

Meanwhile, government’s financial statements for 2010 and 2011 have been submitted to the General Audit Chamber and Government Accountant Bureau SOAB for review. The statements will be forwarded to Parliament for handling when the reviews are completed.

Bron: The Daily Herald

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