CFT approves 2016 budget, says ‘significant improvement’ made

PHILIPSBURG–The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT has approved St. Maarten’s 2016 budget and has given Finance Minister Richard Gibson a pat on the back for making “significant improvements” in the budget.

Gibson told reporters at the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday that he had received a letter from CFT on Tuesday in which he was informed of the approval. In its letter the CFT said it had “taken note of the significant improvement to the draft budget of St. Maarten for 2016, and we compliment the Minister of Finance with this achievement.
“A clear effort has been made to balance the budget and to comply with the instructions issued by the Kingdom Government. There are a few items that require keen attention and monitoring, but CFT has arrived at the conclusion that St. Maarten’s budget for 2016 complies with the norms described in article 15 of the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision,” CFT said in its letter.
“This conclusion also applies to St. Maarten’s multi-annual budget,” CFT said in its letter to Government.
Gibson said CFT’s approval meant that St. Maarten now has access to NAf. 77.6 million for investment in capital expenditures, of which approximately NAf. 35 million was already “in the bank.” He said the difference for investments could be borrowed.
However, CFT has cautioned that St. Maarten should limit its borrowing as much as possible although it has the right to borrow up to this amount.
“St. Maarten’s capacity to be able to borrow and spend all this money for this year is not there, so I am not concerned that St. Maarten will be borrowing all of this money. To the contrary, I will also take the advice from the CFT in this respect quite seriously and limit borrowing to as little as possible,” Gibson said.
CFT also has given its approval for St. Maarten to refinance on a sinking bond basis the NAf. 26 million the former Island Territory of St. Maarten refinanced in 10-10-10, when it comes due this October.
Gibson said this would not be an obstacle as far as the budget was concerned.
“From a budget point of view, things look pretty good for 2016 as well as for 2017 and 2018 because the [CFT – Ed.] letter also mentions that the multi-annual budget from St. Maarten also meets the norms described in the law. All of this is extremely good news for St. Maarten and I believe with continued discipline, attention and hard work that St. Maarten and its citizens can look forward with confidence to a brighter tomorrow,” he said.

Source: Daily Herald
CFT approves 2016 budget, says ‘significant improvement’ made