Instruction from Kingdom Council looming over St. Maarten, Ferrier.

~NAF197M deficit in 2018 budget~

PHILISBURG: — Interim Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier told Parliament on Wednesday that State Secretary Raymond Knops informed the Council of Ministers on St. Maarten that if St. Maarten does not have an approved budget for the year 2018 then there will be real problems for St. Maarten.
Ferrier said that the Government of St. Maarten has until May 8th to submit an approved budget which he said has a gaping hole with a deficit of NAF. 197M. Ferrier insisted that the budget should been approved in December 2017. He asked Members of Parliament to work along with government in order to avoid any type of instruction from the Kingdom Council.
Member of Parliament Luc Mercilina in his remarks said that the Government of St. Maarten is presenting a budget with a deficit of NAF197M and nowhere is it mentioned how government will fill this gap. Mercelina noted that 50% of the budget covers personnel expenses which in his view is relatively high. He also pointed out the limited funds that is allocated for road repairs. NAF11M is allocated for infrastructure a mere NAF.5.6 more than 2017. He asked if NAF 5.6M could rebuild St. Maarten. The MP noted amount of money that is allocated for insurance for civil servants.
Mercelina said that the first tranche (112 Euros) of monies for St. Maarten rebuilding is still not available while the second tranche will only be made available by October 2018.
The new MP asked for explanations presented in the budget especially that regarding the allocated funds for BZVE. He asked government if they will consider having civil servants contribute to their health insurance like workers in the private sector.
Mercelina asked what was the reason government presented the budget to parliament without the advice of the CFT. He even asked if St. Maarten will land in the same predicament as St. Eusatatius with higher supervision. Mercelina also questioned the concession fees from government owned companies and why there is no concession fees coming from the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE). He asked would government repay its debt of over NAF 500M.

MP Rolando Brison in addressing parliament said that government did not fulfill his request by sending parliament as an excel version. He said the Minister of Finance wants Parliament to collaborate with government, he said that collaboration goes both ways. Brison said government can use various ways to safeguard the draft budget and its explanatory notes.


Source: St. Martin News Network