Published On: Sat, Jan 27th, 2024

CFT foresees much higher surplus for 2023

PHILIPSBURG -- Financial supervisor CFT projects a much higher positive result for St. Maarten’s 2023 budget than the government. According to the ministry of finance the result for 2023 will be a surplus of 1 million guilders ($558,659), but the CFT expects it to be between 20 and 30 million guilders ($11.1 to 16.7 million). This appears from the CFT’s advice about the 2023 budget amendment.

The budget amendment contains, in line with CFT-advice, multi-annual surpluses and multi-annual estimates for the capital budget.

Because the budgetary year is over, the CFT suggests involving its current advice in the 2024 budget.

Initially the budget amendment showed a surplus of 1 million guilders for 2023 but this was later adjusted to 5 million ($2.8 million). The CFT disagrees with these numbers and states that it expects a positive result of between 20 and 30 million guilders. This also enables St. Maarten to create higher multi-annual surpluses.

The budget amendment the CFT received on December 28, 2023, projects and increase of 23 million to 518 million ($289.4 million) in revenue and an increase of expenditures by 22 million to 517 million ($288.8 million), mainly based on higher tax income.

“The increased income is cause by a stronger recovery of the economy and by the execution of projects in the context of the country package,” the advice states.

The increased expenditures are caused by higher costs for personnel, goods and services. Among these costs are expenditures for the government healthcare regulation (OZR) and retroactive payments to the police force. Expenses for garbage collection and depreciations also went up.

St. Maarten has budgeted a surplus of 2 million guilders ($1.1 million) for 2024 and 2025 and 6 million ($3.3 million) for 2026. These numbers are lower than previously projected, mainly due to annual payable interest for the refinancing of liquidity loans.

The budget amendment includes 46 million ($25.7 million) for investments in 2024. For the following two years, St. Maarten aims to invest 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

“The budgeted investment level is still below the average regional investment level of 4 percent of GDP,” the CFT points out. It advises St. Maarten to work towards a higher investment level.

In early November 2023, St. Maarten received a capital loan of 61 million guilders ($34 million). The CFT expects that the majority of planned investments will be moved up to 2024. “The CFT recommends St. Maarten to bear in mind the available implementation capacity for the realization of investments.”


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