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PM St. Maarten: All efforts being made to ensure a timely 2014 budget

MONDAY, 15 JULY 2013

~ Ministries being careful with spending ~

PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister (PM) Sarah Wescot-Williams gave a budget update on her weekly call-in radio program, “One on One with the Prime Minister,” on Pearl 98.1 FM on Friday. The PM stated that during the last few weeks, as the new government, one of the critical points was the handling of the 2013 budget.

“There is so much that is critical to the government budget and government finances. As we all know, Parliament did approve the budget, but given the time that passed and given the fact that there was and is legislation necessary passed in time, we were not able to get the estimates necessary to get the 2013 budget approved. One of the items that was subsequently brought off the table in the budget was the tax on alcohol and tobacco, but also, on other matters, there needs to be changes made to current laws and that did not happen, so the estimates need to be corrected,” the PM said.

The PM explained that when Minister of Finance Martin Hassink got into office, his first goal was to get a budget that the government of St. Maarten could operate on. For him to do this, she said he needed to make some changes, including the estimates that need to be revised due to them no longer being feasible.

“He has been working very hard in presenting a new proposal and corrections that would ensure that there still will be a balanced budget. The Minister has made proposals to the Council of Ministers and he is now in discussion to reach an agreement with the CFT that is necessary for the budget to be ratified,” continued the PM.

The Prime Minister also stated that because of the lateness of the 2013 budget, government is being very careful in the spending of the various Ministries and departments. “We need to finalise the budget process and we need to finalise the budget and the plan of the Minister soon. All Ministries and departments are very prudent in spending for 2013 and have taken measures to reduce the spending. Having said this, we are also now focusing on the 2014 Budget to have this through in time to avoid a similar situation.

“People oftentimes overlook that the law on financial supervision also establishes that even after the accepting of the budget by Parliament, the CFT still needs to give the budget one more review. With the political stalemate, there was a delay regarding the budget and that was what our Minister was confronted with when he took office,” concluded the Prime Minister.

Bron: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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