Parliament will start discussing the most recent version of the draft 2023 budget today. Intention is to have it approved and published by the end of the first quarter, a deadline set by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT with backing from the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR in The Hague.
Adopting budgets well into the year they cover seems to have become the norm rather than exception of late. However, that can to some degree be justified by extraordinary circumstances such as far-reaching consequences of Hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 pandemic for the country’s finances.
Complying with CFT’s directives proved a challenge too and caused delays in practice. Moreover, after being allowed manageable deficits in recent years the 2023 budget must now be balanced.
Not only that, but with talks underway on refinancing the Dutch COVID-19 crisis-related liquidity loans maturing this October it’s not entirely clear what amount should be reserved for this. Finance Minister Ardwell Irion and his staff thus have no easy task.
Projected revenues also partially depend on restructuring measures in the so-called “country package” including tax reforms yet to be introduced. This means their impact this year will be limited to the remaining months.
Other uncertainties exist, like the expected contribution from government-owned entities and to what extent the tourism economy has recovered. Suffice to say that money will understandably continue to be tight in the public sector.
Elected representatives on both sides of the proverbial aisle are therefore kindly advised not to unnecessarily bog down the process by proposing amendments that have a negative effect on the bottom line or require significant re-shifting of available funds. At this moment all political wishes and desires cannot possibly be met.
It’s really a quite simple and straightforward matter in that sense.