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Budget 2013 to be submitted to St. Maarten parliament next week

THURSDAY, 07 MARCH 2013

PHILIPSBURG–The draft 2013 budget should be submitted to Parliament next week once the Finance Ministry completes “the final touches” on the follow-up report, Finance Minister Roland Tuitt said Wednesday.

His goal is for the draft budget to “physically reach Parliament next week.”

Tuitt, who is back from a recent trip to the Netherlands where he discussed the budget with kingdom officials, said he reiterated on the trip that St. Maarten does not have a big liquidity problem as the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT had indicated.

“Government has nothing to hide,” Tuitt said, outlining that the country has some NAf 46 million in reserves and will put another NAf 38 million in the coffers once a loan request is worked out and approved. That NAf 38 million was used in the past two years to finance capital projects.

The loan funds will also be used to pay off some government creditors, a move that will “put money into the local economy.”

“We are still reasonably solid,” the minister said.

Government is also still pursuing the remainder of the debt relief funds promised by the Kingdom Government to help give St. Maarten a healthy start as a country within the Dutch Kingdom. That money was never given and from Tuitt’s point of view the goal of the debt relief “was not attained.”

The 2010 kingdom budget had an allocation of some NAf. 120 million for St. Maarten’s debt relief. Only NAf. 63 million was paid out from that amount to cover the country’s debt to the General Pension Fund of the Netherlands Antilles APNA. The rest was held back, due to claims that St. Maarten was late submitting its bills for vetting.

The Dutch Government says the remainder of the money is not sitting in a bank account, Tuitt said.

Government is preparing to take the Dutch Government to court over the debt relief funds.

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