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CFT: St. Maarten's financial reporting is unclear, contradictory

THURSDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2013

THE HAGUE–The second execution report of the St. Maarten Government is unclear, insufficiently substantiated and doesn’t provide enough insight into the execution of the 2013 budget, according to the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, which fears a “substantial deficit” by the end of this year.

“The financial picture of the first half year in the second execution report is unclear because of contradicting figures, as well as the assessments for the remainder of the year. Based on this report, no judgement can be made as to whether the 2013 budget is balanced and the liquidity position sufficient,” stated CFT Chairman Age Bakker in a letter that he sent to St. Maarten Finance Minister Martin Hassink last week Friday.

The CFT also found it unclear whether new payment arrears had materialised and whether the budgeted reduction would take place or not. The CFT is concerned about the development of government’s liquidity position. Therefore it has called on government to submit an update on the liquidity prognosis to the CFT every two weeks.

The second execution report stated that the balances of term deposits and current account had diminished by NAf. 5 million and NAf. 14 million, respectively, because investments under the capital service had been paid with liquid means. There was a lack of financial and textual substantiation of government’s argument that the low season has an adverse effect on the balance of the current account.

Missing from the report was also an explanation of investments under the capital service. Considering the current liquidity position, the CFT didn’t find it wise to finance investments with liquid assets. The CFT asked for concrete information on the investments made, which investments were still pending and how these would be financed.

The report further lacked information on payment arrears. “This severely limits the value of information for Parliament and the CFT.” The committee advised government to include an overview of the payment arrears in the next report. The CFT reminded government that the back payments to the General Pension Fund APS and Taxand could not simply be included in the capital services.

According to the CFT, the second execution report didn’t make entirely clear the realisation figures of expenditures in the first half of this year. Figures are contradictory and show overspending.

“The question is which budgetary picture will be presented to the Parliament. It will be difficult for Parliament based on the different figures that were presented to determine whether amendments are necessary or not,” stated Bakker.

The CFT feared a deficit at the end of the year due to overspending and the fact that the planned revenue-increasing measures from the budget approved earlier this year hadn’t been implemented.

“Based on the available information St. Maarten is facing a substantial deficit by the end of the year with reference to the 2013 budget that was approved by the St. Maarten Parliament, but which still hasn’t been formally established,” stated Bakker.

The draft Note of Amendment the St. Maarten Government submitted to the CFT last July is insufficiently substantiated to inspire confidence that this will balance the budget. Letters from the St. Maarten Government dated August 8 and 30 contain insufficient concrete substantiations to remove the CFT’s doubts, stated Bakker.

The CFT advised the Kingdom Council of Ministers on September 2 to give St. Maarten an instruction forcing the country to realise an established budget in the short term that complies with the norms of the Law on Financial Supervision. The Kingdom Government will discuss the instruction in its next meeting on September 20.

Source: the Daily Herald, St. Maarten

 

Sint Maarten presenteert begrotingswijziging

12 september 2013

PHILIPSBURG – De regering wil de begroting van 2013 sluitend maken door te putten uit overmatige reserves van het waterbedrijf, afdrachten te innen van het Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post, innen van achterstallige vergoedingen van casino’s en het incasseren van enkele miljoenen van een paar grote belastingbetalers. Minister van Financiën Maarten Hassink presenteerde de benodigde begrotingswijziging in een vergadering van de centrale commissie op woensdag.
Deze vergadering wordt vandaag voortgezet. Het kabinet brengt de begroting terug van 457.9 miljoen naar 440.3 miljoen gulden door het schrappen van 33.2 miljoen in de uitgaven en door inkomstenverhogende maatregelen ter waarde van 15.7 miljoen. Accijnsverhogingen op brandstof, alcohol en tabak zijn van de baan.

Niet overtuigd

Het College financieel toezicht (Cft) is nog niet overtuigd dat de maatregelen realistisch en haalbaar zijn en heeft het ministerie van Financiën om nadere onderbouwing gevraagd. Het kabinet wil 5.6 miljoen halen uit de reserves van het waterbedrijf, 2.5 miljoen incasseren voor het beschikbaar stellen van een terrein voor opslagtanks bij de luchthaven, 3.5 miljoen halen uit de overmatige reserves van het Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post, 2.1 miljoen in achterstallige betalingen van casino’s (die 7 miljoen gulden hebben uitstaan) en 3.8 miljoen uit overeenkomsten met enkele grote belastingbetalers.
Aanwijzing
Minister Hassink moet maandag nadere informatie verschaffen aan minister van Koninkrijksrelaties Ronald Plasterk. Op 20 september neemt de Rijksministerraad een beslissing over een eventuele aanwijzing voor Sint Maarten. Hassink denkt deze maatregel te kunnen voorkomen met de nu ingediende begrotingswijziging. Het parlement spreekt zich mogelijk vrijdag hierover uit.

Bron: NTR Caribisch Netwerk

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