From left: Gregory Damoen, Hellen van der Wal, Hans Hoogervorst, Alexandra van Huffelen, Lidwijde Ongering, Glenn Thodé, Roald Lapperre and Julisa Frans.
~ Debt level should be lowered, investment level increased ~
THE HAGUE--After years of crisis, St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba are focusing on recovery, the St. Maarten and Curaçao Committee for Financial Supervision (CFT) and Aruba committee CAFT boards reported during a recent working visit to the Netherlands.
The boards said it is therefore important that the debt level be decreased and the investment level be increased. To this effect the budgets will need surpluses starting 2024.
Curaçao recently achieved good results in increasing its tax revenues. For Aruba and St. Maarten there is still great potential in this area, CFT and CAFT said. This requires reforms and decisive efforts to increase compliance in the short term. Controlling expenses also remains as important as ever for all three countries. Investments that strengthen the economy will help with the recovery. Therefore, the boards recommend introducing multi-year investment agendas. Another key priority is to make the social funds sustainable. Without reforms, they will prove unaffordable in the future.
The boards paid a working visit to the Netherlands May 22-24. There they spoke with State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen, the State Secretary of Finance, members of the First and Second Chambers, the Plenipotentiary Ministers, the Court of Audit and the Council of State. During the meetings, they talked about a multi-annual path towards sustainable public finances and the corresponding main priorities in the Caribbean countries and public entities.
Reporting on the public entities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, the boards said more specific priorities are applicable. Financial management remains a point of attention for all islands. For Saba, this lies in securing its current level and for Bonaire and St. Eustatius in the progress that is being made.
“The challenges in the area of public finances in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, and thus the importance of financial supervision, are still as great as ever. By setting priorities and strengthening the relationships, the boards hope to be able to contribute again in the coming period to the achievement of sustainably healthy public finances,” it was stated in a press release.
CFT Chairperson Lidewijde Ongering and the members look back on a successful trip. The boards visit the Netherlands once every two years. The visit took place for the first time under Ongering’s chairmanship. Besides the chairperson, the boards consist of the member on proposal of the Netherlands Hans Hoogervorst, the member on proposal of Aruba Hellen van der Wal, the member on proposal of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba Glenn Thodé, the member on proposal of St. Maarten Julisa Frans and the member on proposal of Curaçao Gregory Damoen.