Developments on financial arena being discussed
In the last few days the Board of financial supervision (College financieel toezicht – Cft) met with the administrators of all island territories and the Netherlands Antilles, during a visit to the five islands.
During these visits matters discussed were the developments regarding the 2010 budgets to be submitted, the execution of the 2009 budget, financial management and Corporate Governance. Each island faces a different situation, but all islands are equally feeling the effects of the state reform, since this will require more deployment of the personnel. During this visit the Board was accompanied for the first time by the secretary, Geert Bergsma, whom assumed this position in July 2009.
The 2010 budget has not yet been submitted to the board. Up till now the island territory has not managed to formulate the budget within the proposed structure, and considering this the Board has granted more time to those responsible so as to allow them to find a solution. In that regard the Board has approved the increase of a higher than expected structural component of profits tax, after a clarification by the island territory. Furthermore, the Board has indicated that the Cft is earnest with the proposition for the realization of Corporate Governance, which will lead to equal adjustment of articles of incorporation of state owned companies. This should have been submitted much earlier, but has not taken place as yet. The Board has granted Bonaire till the end of the year to implement this code and it would preferably not go over to unilaterally imposing of the code.
Saba and Sint Eustatius
Saba has difficulties as well submitting the 2010 budget with an acceptable deficit. It has been agreed with the Cft that the island territory will hand in a budget to the Cft by November 10th. Sint Eustatius is the one with the least financial problems. This island territory will have to put more effort in using its available funds on time.
The international financial crisis has had its impact on the tourism sector of Sint Maarten, which on its turn has affected the 2010 budget. The island territory is expecting therefore incomes of a disappointing level. Besides, it is also expected that Sint Maarten will have higher expenses in 2010. These expenses are destined for investment in all the preparations for the country status. The government representatives of Sint Maarten are currently considering different scenarios in order to deal with this.
Sint Maarten should submit the 2010 budget at the latest by November 18th.
Netherlands Antilles and Curaçao
Cft has approved the 2010 budget of the Netherlands Antilles, which has a surplus. Besides this, technically, also the 2010 budget of Curaçao has been found positive by the Board, however observing some strict observations. The Board has emphasized that there should be an in-depth assessment of the health and education sector, so that there can be more insight in the long term funds, which are necessary in order to execute the policy in these areas. These assessments should be completed as soon as possible so that the results hereof can be used in the 2011 budget preparations.
Cft spoke to the country Netherlands Antilles and Curaçao about the uncertainties that still exist regarding the exact amount of debt that will be considered for debt settlement. Among others, because of this uncertainty, the Board can still not evaluate the budgets according to the norm on interest burden. Based hereon the Board of financial supervision have made a serious appeal to the Netherlands Antilles to sufficiently equip the Central Bureau of Statistic (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek – CBS) of the Netherlands Antilles to execute the tasks adequately.
The government of Curacao took the initiative to work on a proposed budget (schaduwbegroting) for the country Curaçao, anticipating the actual transfer of the tasks of this new entity.
Finally, the Board is satisfied to observe that the communication between Cft and the island territory of Curacao has intensified considerably and consequently improved.