Published On: Tue, Aug 8th, 2017

Cft: Budget amendment balanced but not complete: More money for justice ministry

GREAT BAY – Due to the lack of executing reports the Cft, the government nor the parliament has any certainty about the preliminary revenue and expenditures during the first half of 2017.” Financial supervisor Cft writes this in a reaction to Finance Minister Richard Gibson about the first amendment to the 2017 budget. The lack of these reports is due to long-lasting ICT-problems.

The Cft nevertheless notes that the budget amendment is balanced; revenue for 2017 increased by 9.3 million to 487.4 million guilders, while esxdpenditures go up by 5.1 million to 463.2 million. The 2017 surplus of 20 million guilders increased by 4.2 million; this surplus is earmarked for compensation the budget deficits previous governments accumul;ated during the 2010-2015 period.

“By increasing the projected surplus there is roonm for dealing with setbacks, or for executing the deficit-compensation faster,” CFt-chairman Raymon gradus writes in his advice.

With the exception of the ministries of general affairs and publich health, social development and labor, each ministrey gets additional busdget for executing its policies.

The budget amendment lowers the capuital investment budget by 3.6 million guilders to 71.2 million.

Budgeted investments have been lowered for the ministries of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication as well as Public Housing, Urban Planning, Environment and Infrastructure. This created space for investment sin the strengthening of the tax inspectorate.

The country’s need for financing drops to 55.7 million guilders; this is partly covered by the rcently approved sinking bond issue from the Central Bank for 21.7 million and the budgeted investments of 34 million in the tax inspectorate.

The financial supervisor notes that the budget amendment is balanced but not complete. “an important omission is the overview of the revenue and expenditures of the finance ministry after the budget amendment. Without this overview it cannot be established whether the proposed amendments will be incorporated correctly in the budget.”

The proposed changes are a contribution of 0.6 million to the Caribbean Financial Action task Force and additional deficit compensation to the tune of 0.8 million.

The amendment includes an increase of the expenditures at the justice ministry of 1.5 million guilders to cover incidental additional personnel costs for the prison and for training of existing staff. Expenditures for external staff increase by 2 million to 2.45 million.

The cft furthermore notes that the country has to begin paying rent to SZV for the new government administration building per July 1. The rent fee until the end of the year is 2.8 million – putting the monthly rent just above 466,500 guilders.

The budget amendment also contains an article about the transfer of the land and the building that currently houses the post office. “The Cft is unable to establish what the financial consequences of this transfer will be.” The financial supervisor advises Minister Gibson to explain this in the explanatory memorandum.