Shigemoto presents rosy picture of St. Maarten’s state of financesPOSTED: 05/18/12 1:33 PM
St. Maarten – Without spending a single word on the criticism the board for financial supervision Cft expressed in letters to the government as recent as last week Wednesday, outgoing Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto paraded the healthy state of St. Maarten’s finances during a press conference on Wednesday morning. The Minister revealed in a prepared report that the current bank accounts hold $7.3 million, while there is $36.5 million in short term deposit parked at four different local banks.
Shigemoto also presented an unaudited review of government spending in the first quarter of this year, suggesting that all but three ministries had under-spent their budgets. Altogether, the ministries spent 13 million guilders ($7.3 million) below budget. Only Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams’s Ministry of General Affairs ($310,476) and Public health Minister Cornelius de Weever’s department ($244,903), and Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger’s Vromi ($238,641) spent above budget.
The Justice Ministry ($3,151,573), the Education Ministry ($2,03,276), the Finance Ministry ($1,198,764) and the Economic Affairs Ministry ($965,051) all stayed well within their budgets.
The parliament, the council of advice, the Audit Chamber, the Ombudsman and the Social Economic Council also spent below budget for a combined total of $880,896.
Shigemoto indicated that “A number of suspense accounts (temporary accounts for receipts that still require verification – ed.) are currently being cleaned up. This might cause a slight increase in the actual expense figures, but not significantly much.”
Shigemoto only said about the budget that it had been submitted with a positive advice from the Cft to the parliament and that it has been approved in March. However, last week the Cft pointed out – as reported in this newspaper on Wednesday – that the projected 21 million guilders ($11.8 million) in revenue from tax on condos rented out by foreign owners will not be collected this year and that there is no coverage for the 17 million guilders ($9.55 million) in cost of living adjustment the minister has promised to civil servants.