Government registers NAf. 1.1 million surplus

26 JANUARY 2017

PHILIPSBURG--Government has registered a surplus of NAf. 1.1 million in revenues in 2016, Finance Minister Richard Gibson announced on Wednesday.

Gibson said the provisional numbers for last year shows that the country managed the 2016 budget in such a manner that irrespective of “all the difficulties confronted with,” a provisional surplus of NAf. 1.1 million ended up in government’s coffers.

Gibson argued that since NAf. 20 million had been reserved in the 2016 budget to repay past debts, the country should have actually registered NAf. 21.1 million in additional revenues for 2016: NAf. 1.1 million representing reserves and 20 million assigned to repay debts.

“We started out with a backlog of NAf. 190 million guilders in debt in November 2015, when we took office… and the way things presently look, that debt will be reduced to NAf. 50.8 million guilders in 2017. All in all, it means that we are really heading in the right direction and that the people at the Ministry, the Finance Department and members of government deserve appreciation for their full cooperation in tackling those severe problems we were confronted with,” Gibson told reporters at the Council of Ministers’ press briefing.

The minister noted, however, that there were “some risks and some problems.” Turnover Tax (ToT), for example, lagged behind in 2016. Approximately NAf. 7 million less was collected in ToT than had been budgeted. “That we have very little control over because it relates to the economy amongst other things.”

Government is, however, “gearing up” to combat this issue (see related story). “The question is: Is everyone reporting as they should, the correct amount in ToT they have generated? As we stand now, we have to assume in good faith that all of it relates to the economy until the contrary can be shown.”

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten