Draft 2020 budget to COM this week

Draft 2020 budget  to COM this week

PHILIPSBURG--The draft 2020 budget is expected to be submitted to the Council of Ministers (COM) this week for approval, Finance Minister Ardwell Irion told The Daily Herald on Monday.

  After approval by the Council of Ministers the budget will be sent to Parliament for handling, Irion said.

  The draft budget stands at NAf. 486 million, slightly higher than the 2019 budget which stood at NAf. 478.8 million. The budget was prepared prior to the current coronavirus COVID-19 crisis which has slowed down and even brought to a halt the economies of many countries around the world. It could not be ascertained to what extent the current health crisis will affect allocations in the draft budget.

  Figures provided on the budget earlier this year showed that of the total budget, an amount of NAf. 461.5 million was set for revenue; NAf. 59 million for investments; NAf. 5.3 million for loans receivable; NAf. 28.4 million for loans payable; and NAf. 52 million for authorisation to contract new loans.

  In addition, an initiative amendment to the 2019 budget that had been submitted by then-Member of Parliament (MP) Silveria Jacobs (currently Prime Minister) to amend the amount budgeted for the hiring of consultants, so that more money would be budgeted for the immediate needs of society, is included in the draft 2020 budget.

  This has resulted in NAf. 700,000 being allocated for education at the Pointe Blanche prison; NAf. 1.7 million for afterschool care programmes; NAf. 480,000 for school sports programmes to promote and stimulate school sports and to develop youth talent; and NAf. 400,000 for the development of national teams and the further development of national teams and sports organisations.