Dutch State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen speaking with the media after Friday’s Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting with in the background, Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus of St. Maarten (left), Ady Thijsen of Aruba (second from right) and Carlson Manuel of Curaçao (right). (Suzanne Koelega photo)
THE HAGUE--The Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR on Friday gave the formal approval for two liquidity loans for St. Maarten for a total amount of NAf. 24 million (11.3 million euros). It concerns NAf. 14 million for the third quarter and NAf. 10 million for the fourth quarter of 2022.
Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen made the announcement after Friday’s RMR meeting. The RMR approved the proposal of the state secretary to provide new liquidity support for St. Maarten.
The approval is more of a formality since these two tranches were already in the planning and were awaiting formal decision-taking by the RMR following a positive advice of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT.
In order to receive liquidity support for the third quarter, St. Maarten had to show that it had found the coverage within its budget to pay the 6% vacation allowance for the civil servants. The approval of the fourth liquidity support tranche was also subject to a number of conditions that were set at an earlier stage. With the new liquidity support, the St. Maarten government can pay its current bills.
Curaçao and Aruba did not request liquidity support this time. The RMR does not expect the three countries to need more liquidity support from the Netherlands in 2023 now that the economies of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision-taking about a possible instruction for Aruba to order the country to reduce the budget deficit over 2022 was deferred to the next RMR on October 21, announced Van Huffelen. She explained to the media that it was important to follow the proper procedure in this matter and that this took time.
There is an advice of the Aruba Committee for Financial Supervision CAFT to the RMR to give Aruba an instruction. According to the procedure, the Aruba government can respond to that advice. Oranjestad has done so and now the Dutch government has to look at it, after which it will be discussed in the RMR.
The hope is that a solution will be found before the next RMR on October 21 so no instruction has to be given. “I hope that Aruba will find a solution which they are working on. The talks with Aruba will continue on this matter. I hope that it will not be necessary to give that instruction. We will see in the next RMR,” said Van Huffelen.
The state secretary said that the interest of the Aruba people was paramount in achieving solid finances and reducing the deficit. “Ultimately it is about the Aruba people for whom it is important that the country’s finances are in order. If that is in order, there will be funds for investments in the eradication of poverty, in education, infrastructure and the tackling of environmental issues,” said the state secretary.