PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten has been granted approval to deviate from Article 25 of the Rijkswet Financieel Toezicht (RFT) to be able to ratify its 2022 deficit budget.
This decision was approved during the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR meeting held in The Hague today, Friday based on the positive advice presented by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK. The deviation to which the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT had advised positively since the end of November 2021, was the first point on the agenda for today.
Government lived up to its legal obligation to submit the budget and to request deviation based on the national budget’s deficit caused by the disasters the country has been facing from 2017 until present, it was stated in a press release issued by the cabinet of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. The deviation was granted to St. Maarten under the conditions as provided in the law which include the incorporation of the recommendations of the C(A)FT in the budget and the submission of all loans for ordinary service to the RMR for approval.
During the Parliamentary debate on the 2022 budget in January, the budgetary trajectory was explained by Prime Minister Jacobs, who said official confirmation had been received from State Secretary for Home Affairs and Digitization Alexandra Van Huffelen to have the deviation handled as an agenda point in the RMR meeting that was scheduled for today. As such, it was imperative that Parliament did its due diligence in debating and approving the draft 2022 national budget, Jacobs said.
On February 3, government received the final documents of the approved legislation related to the budget from Parliament, paving the way for the Ministry of Finance to incorporate all approved amendments brought in by government and Parliament over the next week. Upon completion of the approved amendments, the final version will be vetted by the secretariat of Parliament and can be sent to the Governor for ratification. Once contra-signed by government, the legislation to establish it is enacted and published.
Based on government’s preparations, the budget process should be finalised by mid-February in order for the government to continue living up to its obligations to the people of St. Maarten.
"With the granting of the deviation, the government is now working on finalising the budgetary trajectory to ensure that our monthly obligations to the country can be met. As such, I must commend State Secretary Van Huffelen for living up to the responsibility of ensuring this point was not linked to any conditions not mentioned in the law,” stated Prime Minister Jacobs.