Management remains vulnerable; Financial position Public Entities significantly improved

In the last couple of days the Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (College financieel toezicht – Cft) had conversations with the Executive Councils and Island Councils of the Public Entities Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.


During these conversations the focus was on the (execution of) the 2012 and 2013 budgets, the financial statements and the current status of the financial management. On all the Public Entities the financial management is developing in a positive direction, but still remains vulnerable. The Cft noticed with satisfaction that thanks to amongst others the free contribution ("vrije uitkering"), the financial position of the Public Entities has improved significantly. Because of this there are now more possibilities to work at for example the improvement of the social facilities and the infrastructure.

Sint Eustatius

In the constructive conversation with the Board, the Public Entity Sint Eustatius indicated to have worked hard to submit the 2013 budget according with the respective laws and regulations. It is a great achievement that this was accomplished in a relatively short period. The budget shows a surplus concerning the compensation of a deficit from the past. The Island Council is about to adopt this budget and channel it via the Board to the Minster of BZK, before November 15th 2012.

The adoption of a balanced budget for 2013 was one of the criteria the Cft laid down for Sint Eustatius in order to be able to advice the Minister of BZK not to prolong the Preceding Supervision (Voorafgaand Toezicht – VT) as of January 1st 2013. Besides there should be a balanced adapted 2012 budget, the financial statements for 2011 be submitted before the deadlines stated in the Act on Finance for the Public Entities BES (Wet Financiën Openbare Lichamen BES – Wet FinBES) and an execution plan for Financial Management should be in place. As far as this last aspect is concerned, the Board is still in discussion with the Public Entity, whereby the expectation is expressed that within a couple of weeks a positive advise can be given to the Minister of BZK so this Preceding Supervision (VT) will no longer be applicable as of January 1st 2013.

Finally it was discussed that Sint Eustatius still faces the challenge concerning cleaning up the accounts payable and accounts receivables database and making this more transparent.


The Island Council of the Public Entity Saba is expected to adopt a budget for 2013 this week, within the deadline. It concerns a balanced budget in which not all aspects of the results of the governmental deliberation financial relations have yet been taken into consideration, as the deliberations have only taken place earlier this month. These adaptations, mostly as a consequence of the indexation of the so-called ‘vrije uitkering’, will later be processed via a budget adaptation. As far as the improvements on the area of Financial Management are concerned, Saba is taking the lead, compared to the other Public Entities. The main points for 2012 as agreed with the Board, such as the subsidy policy, the dividend policy and the process descriptions, are accomplished and the Board is confident that this will also be the case with the new spear points for the year 2013. Saba still has to adopt the corporate governance code.


Based on the execution information concerning the first half of the year 2012, the Board concludes that this year – as was the case last year – the budget will not be depleted. Bonaire also agrees with this presumption. The Board is of the opinion that the Public Entity, more than was the case up till now, should use the available budgeted amount timely to be able to provide all the resources that are positive for the public. In the next budget adaptation the government will make a proposition to the Island Council to reallocate the funds which now seem to be left over.

Also the Public Entity Bonaire seems to be able to have the Island Council adopt a balanced 2013 budget this week, despite of the limited capacity of the public employees in the area of finance. The Board has expressed its appreciation for this during the deliberation with the Executive Council. The same counts for eliminating backlogs concerning the financial statements for 1992-2011. Because some much time was invested in the budgeting and financial statement process, Bonaire unfortunately was not able to deal with all the spear points Financial Management that were agreed on with the Board this year. The Board expressed the hope that for 2013 more time and energy will be used to deal with the Financial Management, whereby the Board acknowledges though that the necessary qualitative capacity should be available at Finances. Taking the new governmental system into consideration, Bonaire is facing the challenge to form the administrative system in such a manner that the needed capacity can be unlocked.

During the conversations, the necessity to collaborate mutually or with the Dutch municipals to ensure the improvements in the financial management for the future was also discussed. The agreements made as of 10-10-’10 concerning the increase of the pension age ascending up to 65 years and the introduction of the ‘middenloonstelsel’ were also discussed.