THE HAGUE–Now that the public entity Bonaire does not have an approved budget for 2021, the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT will ascertain this budget. Also, an instruction from the minister is looming if the financial management plan is not executed.
The CFT recently sent two letters to Bonaire Island Governor Edison Rijna with two stern warnings: because the CFT did not receive an approved 2021 budget in time, it will draft a budget as it deems fit, and it will advise an instruction if insufficient progress is made with the financial management plan of approach.
In the letter dated November 18, CFT Chairman Raymond Gradus noted that so far the CFT had not received an approved 2021 budget of the public entity Bonaire. The deadline to do so, as stated in the Caribbean Netherlands Financial Law FinBES, is November 15 of the year preceding the budget.
This means that, according to the same law, the CFT will shortly inform the state secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK of this fact, while at the same time submitting a draft 2021 budget as it should be ascertained in the CFT’s opinion.
In a separate letter dated November 17, the CFT responded to the third quarter 2020 Execution Report of the public entity Bonaire. The CFT noted that the third budget amendment for the year 2020 had not been submitted to the CFT as yet, and that the second budget amendment still required approval by the Island Council.
Without an approved budget amendment, there is no lawful basis for the revenues and expenditures that are included in this document, the CFT observed. “The CFT concludes that the budget process is not in order and advises you to improve the process.” The CFT further remarked that not all annual reports of the government-owned entities have been submitted.
The plan of approach to strengthen Bonaire’s financial management, drafted by the accountancy firm Ernst and Young, needs to be executed for the public entity to achieve its first approved auditor’s report.
The CFT hopes that meaningful steps can be taken in improving financial management with the assistance of the Dutch “change team”, financed by the BZK Ministry, which will come to Bonaire shortly.
“This will again give you an opportunity to give an impulse to the public entity’s financial management and bring this to the required level. The CFT urges you to show the necessary decisiveness and to deploy the available means and capacities to accomplish this goal.”
The CFT reminded Bonaire that if it insufficiently complies with the requirements set by the BZK Ministry or does not give sufficient urgency to the Ernst and Young plan of approach, the state secretary can move to issue a general or a special instruction. “The CFT will advise the state secretary if this proves necessary.”
The CFT wants to receive monthly updates about the progress of the execution of the plan of approach. Special attention is required for the work of the concerned comptroller and the budgeting and spending of personnel expenditures, which the CFT noted have been a source of concern for several years.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/cft-takes-over-bonaire-s-budget-process-for-2021