Age Bakker (Cft): “Public entities work at their own pace to improve financial management and financial position”
Semi-annual report Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba
WILLEMSTAD - The quality of the financial management of the public entities varies considerably and leads to very different evaluations, according to the second semi-annual report on 2015 of the Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
Saba has consistently achieved a balanced budget in recent years. This went hand in hand with impressive improvements made in the area of financial management, based on which the annual accounts 2014 was given an unqualified opinion. Cft advised to take more extensive explanations in the execution reports and to take measures to improve the liquidity and resilience. The 2016 budget is balanced and has been cautiously drafted in the opinion of Cft.
Sint Eustatius was placed under stricter administrative supervision by the Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations and it received an instruction on financial matters. During 2015 the reporting duties and the obligation to submit the annual accounts and the budget were not timely and completely complied with. The 2014 annual accounts were only adopted by the Island Council on November 19th, 2015; the year ended with a deficit of over USD 300,000. The first budget amendment in May, which showed a large deficit, received a negative opinion from Cft and a revised budget amendment was only submitted to Cft in December.
In the absence of the necessary reports, Cft has had insufficient insight into the financial situation of the public entity. The Cft has repeatedly requested attention for this matter. An expert group has drawn up a plan with the purpose to improve the financial management. The Cft has not received any progress report. After adoption of the budget in 2016, in which the 2014 deficit is compensated, the Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations has decided to waive the commitment stop and institute preceding supervision.
Bonaire has each time achieved a balanced budget in recent years. The 2014 annual accounts were timely adopted by the Island Council and they show a small surplus. In the execution reports an improvement in the quality is clearly visible. Bonaire should nevertheless remain fully focused on further improving its financial management, the quality of its reports and the strengthening of its liquidity position. The Cft has requested particular attention for the timely adoption of financial statements of government companies.
Finally, the Cft observes that it takes a lot of effort for the public entities to fully incorporate structural maintenance charges in the 2016 budget. Cft has previously pointed this out to the public entities and has indicated that it will give this matter special attention.