PHILIPSBURG–The Council of Ministers can now make very taut ends meet now that Parliament has given Finance Minister Perry Geerlings the approval to contract a zero-interest thirty-year loan agreement with a five-year grace period from the Dutch government.
The loan is desperately needed by government as it grapples with the severe financial blow delivered to the country’s economy by Hurricane Irma a year ago. An amendment to the 2018 budget was needed to make room for the direly needed NAf. 166.1 million in liquidity support from the Dutch Government.
Government does expect some NAf. 28 million more than budgeted for 2018 for in revenues.
Members of Parliament (MPs) gave Geerlings their approval late last night after more than five hours of discussion in a plenary session of the legislature on the need for planning, better availability of income figures and the bettering of government’s information and communication technology (ICT) system.
Opposition MPs hammered Geerlings on financial accountability, government’s ability to meet deadlines and the country’s general financial recovery. Those MPs voted for the amendment in the end, on the premise that it was what the country required now.
Geerlings is not off the hook, though, as the opposition wants him to deliver information requested on numerous topics, including road tax collection and the delivery of government’s cost-cutting and revenue generating plans.
Geerlings assured Parliament that the liquidity support will not be doled out by the Dutch government just to be used up by government’s apparatus. The loan will be released in tranches based on the country’s quarterly financial statements/reports.
Tuesday’s meeting came after another round of lengthy discussions in the Central
Committee setting on September 7. In that session, Geerlings told MPs that government has some NAf. 20 million in its current account at the moment. This “not sufficient to make ends meet or keep government or Parliament going,” he said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/80533-parliament-gives-go-head-on-zero-interest-30-year-loan