Liquidity support postponed by Kingdom Council

Liquidity support postponed by Kingdom Council

Picture: Minister plenipotantiary Rene Violenus after the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting (photo by Otti Thomas).

THE HAGUE – The Kingdom Council of Ministers (RMR) today postponed a decision about new liquidity support for St. Maarten. The Dutch government wants additional advice about the vacation payment for civil servants. Minister plenipotentiary Rene Violenus of St. Maarten is disappointed but expects a positive decision within days. A decision about a possible financial instruction for Aruba was also postponed.

St. Maarten requested liquidity support of NAf. 14 million for the third quarter of 2022. It was the first request this year, because there was no need for additional loans in the first and second quarter of the year. Violenus said the request was already approved by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, but the Dutch government did not agree yet.

“We want more information if this single payment is according to the agreement between St. Maarten and the Netherlands,” said State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations, referring to the vacation pay.

  This was confirmed by Violenus. “The state secretary and government request an additional review by CFT to determine if the budget covers the allowance,” he said.

Violenus added that liquidity support is extra important because of the hurricane season, which will possibly lead to higher expenses. The delay was therefore disappointing. “I stressed during the RMR that CFT already gave a positive advice. St. Maarten also meets the requirements of the Tijdelijke Werkorganisatie (Temporary Work Organisation) about the reform package, so we expected a positive decision by the RMR,” he said.

Violenus still expects such to be made soon, maybe within a week. A review by CFT can be concluded within days, which means the liquidity support can soon be approved. State Secretary Van Huffelen has a mandate to settle this with Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion. A new RMR is not necessary.

The RMR today also discussed the financial situation of Aruba. The Committee for Aruba Financial Supervision CAFT this week advised to give the Aruban government a financial instruction. CAFT concluded that most of its recommendations for a balanced budget were not followed-up on.

“CAFT gave an advice, but the government of Aruba still has an opportunity to react. I hope they will because nobody is looking forward to an instruction. But I especially hope Aruba will get down to work and adjust its budget. A solid financial basis is incredibly important. So, first Aruba must act and then the RMR can make its decision,” she said.

Deputy Minister plenipotentiary of Aruba Juan “Ady” Thijssen said most countries are still recovering from the COVI-19 crisis and at the same time are dealing with the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. In the European Union (EU) more and more countries are in favour of flexible budget rules. “This should also apply to Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. This is an extraordinary situation,” he said. Thijssen expects that the CAFT and RMR will eventually agree with Aruba.



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