St. Maarten recovery trust fund to hold maximum 470M euros

THE HAGUE–The Trust Fund from which St. Maarten’s reconstruction will be financed will hold a maximum of 470 million euros, Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops announced on Friday.

  St. Maarten’s accessibility in the context of a stronger border control and economy, sustainable waste management and waste water management in cooperation with French St. Martin, and good governance with focus on government, policy, finances and public order and safety. These are the three areas that the Dutch Government wants to receive full attention during the execution of the Trust Fund for the recovery of St. Maarten after Hurricane Irma, the State Secretary noted in a letter that he sent to the Dutch Parliament on Friday.

  In a seven-page letter, Knops provided an update on the various aspects of St. Maarten’s recovery process for which the Dutch Government has reserved 550 million euros. In the letter, detailed information is given on the working relation with the World Bank, which will manage the Trust Fund, and the deployment of the Trust Fund.

  A maximum of 470 million euros will be available for the Trust Fund. So far, 24.6 million euros has been used for liquidity support for the St. Maarten Government and 7 million euros has been allocated for early recovery projects. The remaining part of the 550 million euros will be used for direct support from the Netherlands to St. Maarten in instances when financing through the Trust Fund is not possible or undesirable.

  The State Secretary explained that the Trust Fund will be used to support the reconstruction on a social, economic and governmental level, to improve St. Maarten’s resilience against hurricanes and other natural disasters, and to strengthen the (governmental) capacity.

  “I expect that the financing from the Trust Fund will not be sufficient to execute the entire National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). This means that choices will have to be made and priorities have to be set. From a Dutch perspective it is important that projects and activities contribute to achieving the broad objective, that they fit within St. Maarten’s structural policy and sustainable financing is secured,” stated Knops.

  In order to further define the range of the Trust Fund, the agreement with the World Bank, which will be signed next month, will secure that only reconstruction-related projects for which there are no other financing options besides public funds will be eligible for financing from the Trust fund. “These projects have to fit in St. Maarten’s scale where it concerns content, form and process, taking into consideration the local absorbency and available capacity.”

  From the part of the Netherlands, it is important that resources from the Trust Fund have to be available to improve St. Maarten’s accessibility in to context of a stronger border control and economy, to achieve a sustainable waste management and waste water management, and good governance.

  The Trust Fund, which will have a maximum capacity of 470 million euros, will be replenished by yet to be defined tranches. The tranches will be linked to the execution programmes.

  Funding for the reconstruction will be guaranteed on the Dutch Government budget up until the end of 2021, Knops assured. The World Bank is taking into account that the execution of some activities financed by the Trust Fund, for example large infrastructural projects, will cover a longer period.

  The letter of the State Secretary also addressed the pay that the World Bank will receive for its work. Knops stated that the exact size of the remuneration could not be determined beforehand since this depended on the amount of projects that will be executed by the recipient, the St. Maarten Government and non-profit organisations, and the activities that will be carried out by the World Bank. Knops anticipated that the remuneration will be somewhere between 5 and 9 per cent.

Source: The Daily Herald