POND ISLAND–Government will ask the Dutch government for an extension to the legal deadline for the delivery of the 2019 budget. The budget, by law, should have Parliament’s approval by December 15.
Finance Minister Perry Geerlings told civil servants attached to his ministry in an introductory meeting in the Government Administration Building on Thursday that he would request an extension, as he has no intention of “competing to bring out a swiftly generated budget with no real reflection of the island’s financial reality.”
The additional time to prepare the draft 2019 budget is to enable the delivery of “a realistic budget.”
Along with preparing the draft budget, according to a press statement from Geerlings’ cabinet, the ministry will take measures to improve financial accountability and to provide efficient budget reporting.
As part of the ministry’s restructuring process, Geerlings said measures will be taken to simplify procedures for tax-return submission and improving customer friendliness. Technology use is expected to play a significant role in enhancing services provided to the public.
Geerlings said he plans to look closely at the ministry’s internal processes to find ways of improving efficiency. He promised civil servants an open-door policy and to make routine visits to the departments to learn of challenges and to find solutions collectively.
Some 100 civil servants were told by Geerlings to familiarise themselves with the “Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten” Governing Programme 2018-2022, as it is a roadmap for “a healthy and sustainable St. Maarten.”
This post-Hurricane Irma period is a “critical time” for “restructuring government.” This is “a top priority” for the Leona Romeo-Marlin Cabinet II. “Everyone will be held accountable, myself included,” Geerlings said.
With limited financial and human resources cause for concern, Geerlings said for economic stability, all will be “called upon to find creative means of addressing operational and liquidity challenges.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/78615-geerlings-to-request-2019-budget-deadline-extension