CFT: Govt. disregarded budget right St. Maarten Parliament

CFT: Govt. disregarded budget  right St. Maarten Parliament

THE HAGUE--The budget right of the St. Maarten Parliament was insufficiently respected by the St. Maarten government when it executed a budget amendment in 2020, without parliamentary approval.

  The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT stated this in a letter to St. Maarten Finance Minister Ardwell Irion. The letter, dated July 23, concerns the advice with regard to the ascertained 2020 budget amendment, and has now been published by the CFT.

  In July 2021, the CFT received the official national ordinance of the 2020 budget amendment for review. However, because the year 2020 had already passed and the figures in this amendment deviated from the actual realisation, the CFT didn’t consider a procedure based on the Kingdom Supervision Law “opportune.”

  According to the CFT, the ascertained budget amendment was obsolete because the figures in the budget amendment didn’t correspond with the actual realisation. For example, NAf. 355 million was actually collected in taxes, and not NAf. 337 million as projected in the budget amendment. The actual expenditures were also lower than stated in the amendment.

  Furthermore, the amendment showed a deficit of NAf. 233 million for 2020, whereas the actual budget deficit stated in the Execution Report of the fourth quarter of 2020 was NAf. 197 million. Therefore, the CFT said it didn’t find it of additional value to review the budget amendment.

  The CFT was critical of the fact that the budget amendment was executed during 2020 without being approved by Parliament, and ascertained by the governor. “Measures were taken and expenditures were made without these being formally included in the budget, as a result of which Parliament’s budget right was insufficiently respected.”

  The CFT pointed out to Minister Irion that it was important to follow the budget and accountability process in a timely and complete manner. The CFT noted, as it has done so many times before, that St. Maarten needs to improve its financial management.

  In addition, the CFT pointed out that it was in St. Maarten’s interest that the government acted promptly to implement measures to increase revenue and cut cost, so the country can ultimately return to structural budget surpluses. The reform of the social and tax system and the curbing of expenditures remain crucial.

  CFT Chairman Raymond Gradus stated in his letter that he was content with the move of the St. Maarten government to reduce the redundancy pay (“wachtgeld”) for politically appointed officials from two to one year.

The Daily Herald

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