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St. Maarten draft 2013 budget is being handled by ministers


PHILIPSBURG–The Council of Ministers will have the draft 2013 budget before it today, Thursday, for approval. The budget is tagged at NAf. 476 million with a capital expenditure of some NAf. 35 million.

Finance Minister Roland Tuitt told the press on Wednesday that while government wants to get the budget approved by Parliament before year-end, it appears that this may not be possible due to the lengthy process still being followed. He anticipates that Parliament can begin handling the budget in the first week of January.

The country did not borrow any money in 2012; instead money from the General Fund was used. In order to replenish that fund and cover the capital expenditure for 2013, government will seek a NAf. 100 million loan in the coming year.
The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT is busy perusing the draft budget as is the Advisory Council. Tuitt will go over details of the budget and provide the CFT with clarification where needed in the coming days.

Tuitt expects some enquiries from CFT about the some NAf. 20 million included in the draft budget related to increased tax compliance. Government intends get all unregistered businesses in the system to help with this collection. The Tax Office will also visit businesses to observe their daily revenue collection and present them with an assessment. A similar route was taken in Curaçao.

The increased tax on alcohol and tobacco will raise some NAf. 20 million. This way forward with this increase was discussed this week between the minister and the country’s four largest wholesalers. This increase is only supposed to be levelled at the final sale end and not accumulated throughout the transaction from wholesaler to retailer.
The increase in casino table and slot machine fees is another revenue-increasing measure. Tuitt meets with the casino association today, Thursday, to further iron out how the fees will be levied without harming businesses.

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