Finance Minister confirms Draft Budget Amendment is on track

Finance Minister, the Honourable Perry Geerlings, says the second Draft Budget Amendment 2018 will be presented to Parliament of Sint. Maarten for approval by November 15th, as originally scheduled.

The Second Draft Budget Amendment will go to the Council of Ministers (COM), Tuesday next week for approval along with the “Nader Rapport,” which will outline how the Finance Ministry addressed the advice of the Council of Advice. In the same order the concerns put forward by the Board for Financial Supervision (Cft), in their Article 11 Advice (Rft) are addressed.

Despite information disseminated by a local Media House, which appears to suggest that the Ministry of Finance was “dragging its feet” on addressing the Cft’s concerns, and not in compliance, the Ministry of Finance is currently addressing these observations.

“The Ministry of Finance has a very healthy working relationship with the Cft, and we have established an understanding that my objective is to send a budget as accurate as possible to the Parliament of Sint Maarten,” said Geerlings. This Article 11 advice and that of the Council of Advice are as a matter of fact supporting this trajectory.

Geerlings said, “The Ministry of Finance will continue to do everything necessary to ensure that there is a working budget for the country. Our goal is to ensure accountability and transparency, and most importantly we want to ensure the financial sustainability of the country.”

Based on the requirements imposed through Higher Supervision, the Ministry of Finance sent the Second Draft Budget Amendment 2018 to the Cft, for its Article 11 advice. The Cft has submitted its advice and the next step procedurally is for the Ministry of Finance to review the Cft’s advice and make adjustments to the Draft Budget Amendment where necessary/possible, which is being done.

Whatever changes are made to the Draft Budget based on the advice from the Council of Advice, is documented in the “Nader Rapport”. Along with the Draft Budget Amendment, the advice of the Council of Advice, the “Nader Rapport,” the Cft’s Article 11 Advice, and the elucidation on how Cft’s recommendations were incorporated, is then sent to the COM for review and approval.

After the COM approves the Draft Budget Amendment, the document will be forwarded to Parliament of Sint Maarten for approval. The Second Draft Budget Amendment can undergo changes, based on motions from Parliament.

Once the Draft Budget Amendment 2018 gets the approval of the Parliament of Sint Maarten, it will then be forwarded to the Governor of Sint Maarten his Excellency Eugene Holliday for ratification.
Following that process, according to Article 12 of the law on financial supervision, the Cft needs to provide its advice on the approved budget and at that time it has the opportunity to address any remaining concerns if appropriate.