2016 budget ended with a small surplus.
PHILIPSBURG:— Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr welcomed the Minister of VROMI Christopher Emmanuel to the Council of Ministers, he also told Minister Emmanuel to be prepared to be criticized and to also work hard. He promised Emmanuel to work closely with him in the Council of Ministers in order to serve the people of St. Maarten.
Minister Gibson said that he has a lot to be thankful for as the 2017 budget has been approved by parliament and that the CFT had given comments which were added to the budget through an amendment to the budget. Minister Gibson made clear that the CFT still has the last word on the 2017 budget which is the second balanced budget he presented since taking office that was also approved by the parliament of St. Maarten. He said that the route is not yet completed and the CFT also have to give their advice to the Kingdom Council of Ministers, which he said should be done by January 10th 2017.
Gibson said that this year there will be a small surplus which is good news and this also shows that St. Maarten has been getting off its financial house in order which is not fully completed. He an instruction was issued to St. Maarten, one being to increase the pension age to 65 and to have some laws in place for the pension funds. These laws he said had to be passed by the parliament of St. Maarten before December 31st but it did not happen. The Minister said he is hopeful that all parties could come together and have an agreement for a sustainable fund. He said that the Council of Ministers approved the framework for the National Health Care system that has to make its way to Parliament for approval.
Besides that the finance Minister said that the budget, in general, needs some improvement which they already started and was implemented in the budget of 2017. He said when preparing the 2018 budget the country will attempt to meet all of the requirements as outlined by the Chamber of Accounts. Minister Gibson said his Ministry plans to start working on the 2018 draft budget immediately which will be taken to the Council of Ministers for their approval. He said if that is done then it would be a major accomplishment because the budget has to be approved by September 2nd by the parliament of St. Maarten, he further explained that this is how it’s done in the Netherlands and for him St. Maarten could have it done during the same time frame. Minister Gibson said the 2018 budget will not end with a small surplus but instead a big surplus. He said he is making that known now because the over NAF 200M back debts St. Maarten had will be up to date by that time. The finance minister said by then the country would be able to embark on policies for developments.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Finance Minister advised VROMI Minister to work hard and accept critics.