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St. Maarten budget 2013 signed by governor and ministers


~ Government sees no need for instruction ~

PHILIPSBURG–Governor Eugene Holiday, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Finance Minister Martin Hassink have signed the 2013 Budget into law following the approval of the amendments by Parliament on September 12.

The Kingdom Council of Ministers has been informed by government about the establishment of the budget, Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said at the Council of Ministers press briefing Wednesday.

A synopsis of the budget, the process to have the amendments adopted and an overview of discussions government had with the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT throughout the exercise have been sent to the Kingdom Council by Finance Minister Hassink via Dutch Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk.

Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague Mathias Voges also has spoken with Plasterk on the budget issue.

The advice from CFT to the Kingdom Council to issue an instruction to government to bring St. Maarten’s financial house in order is now void, according to Wescot-Williams. “It is our belief that there is no need for an advice like has been prepared by the CFT.”

That advice is on the agenda of the Kingdom Council of Ministers for its Friday session in The Hague.

The amended and approved budget has been sent to the CFT for review. Wescot-Williams hopes that a response from CFT will be received by government “as soon as possible,” as the 2013 budget only now has been established.

Government can now look at attracting loans to carry out capital projects with the establishment of the 2013 budget.

Government is still interested in purchasing Emilio Wilson Estate, one of the capital projects in the budget. The Council of Ministers will take up discussions with the estate owners.

Government’s focus now has shifted fully to the draft 2014 budget. The seven ministries have prepared their individual budgets. These will be reviewed by the Ministry of Finance. This pending budget does not have much room to manoeuvre, just like the 2013 budget.

Government continues to monitor its personnel cost. A core task analysis of the civil service has been commissioned by government. This will give government information and proposals on adjusting personnel cost.

Wescot-Williams said it is government’s hope that the draft 2014 budget can be tabled and approved by Parliament before year-end.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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