CFT: Clear plan needed for Post Office financial viability

PHILIPSBURG–Government and Post St. Maarten (PSS) need to draw up a clear action plan to restore financial viability to the government-owned company and reduce risks for the country’s budget, Committee for Financial Supervision CFT said on Thursday.

The Committee, headed by Chairman Age Bakker, met with Government and PSS about the dire state of the Post Office, a company that has been losing NAf. 80,000 monthly, almost from the time it came into existence on October 15, 2011.

The Post Office “is running at a deficit each month. This cannot continue,” Bakker said, pointing out that should this continue, PSS will not be able to pay salaries in a few months’ time.

Bakker said CFT learned from the meeting that the Post Office’s action plan, dating back to 2014, was never implemented. This means action to make the company viable has not been taken.

CFT’s call to both Government and the Post Office is “to be proactive” to stop the haemorrhaging of funds via losses due to flagging business, a problem affecting post offices worldwide.

There will be no avoiding having less staff, Bakker said, calling for compensation packages to be looked into quickly “as time is running out” for the company.

Prime Minister William Marlin had announced last week that a change manager, in the person of former Lt. Governor Dennis Richardson, is to be appointed for the Post Office. Government is also exploring the possibility of outsourcing services to the Post Office of the Caribbean Netherlands.

The Post Office’s problems are not only the loss of business and running a deficit. The supervisory board and management of PSS made it public in January that its building in Philipsburg is uninsured, and no headway has been made in obtaining the building and the leased land from Government, despite an agreement to do so on July 9, 2012, and although the issue had been discussed in a meeting with the Council of Ministers on April 23, 2015.

PSS is one of the government-owned companies that has been lagging behind with the submitting of its annual reports to CFT. The last report received was in 2014, said Bakker.

All annual reports of all government-owned companies are requested by CFT, but few are received. Bakker pointed out that the reports, in general, are not available online for perusal by the public, the actual owners of the entities.

Source: The Daily Herald