Published On: Sat, Sep 6th, 2014

Cft: ‘Government companies under scrutiny”

Cft - foto 4 (2)WILLEMSTAD - The Board financial supervision for Curaçao and Sint Maarten (College financieel toezicht Curaçao and Sint Maarten - Cft) brought a visit to Curaçao in the first week of September. The Board met with the Governor, the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament. Also, work visits were brought to Aqualectra, the Curaçao Dokmaatschappij (CDM), Cpost International, Usona, SOAB, the Court of Audit, the General Pension Fund of Curaçao and the liquidation commission.

With the government and with Aqualectra, CDM and Cpost there have been discussions about the current financial position of these companies and the plans for the future, in order to improve this position. All parties involved are aware that something needs to be done and there are plans for the future to that effect. The big challenge now is to actually put these plans into execution, a point that the Board keeps repeating and will keep on monitoring, considering the importance of the situation.

Financial management

Although the tax proceeds are lagging behind compared to the 2014 budget, the Cft currently does not see any reason to assume that the budget will get out of balance. But a good exchange of information will of course be of importance to ensure the possibility to make timely adjustments, should this be needed. In this regard the quality of the information is important as well. Several projects to improve the financial management have been put in motion to achieve this, such as the strengthening of the financial control function within the administration. The Cft recognizes the many efforts of the government to make progress on this broad-ranging topic, but at the same time upholds its position that there is still a long way to go. For example, despite repeated requests from the Cft to that effect, to date there are no adopted financial statements since the start of the country Curaçao. Cft recognizes that it is not only the government that has to move to improve this and all other aspects of financial management. Other parties involved, also have their responsibility here, such as the SOAB, the ARC and Parliament. The Cft calls on all parties to join forces and work together to improve the financial management.

Lecture

The visit of the Cft was concluded with a lecture given by Cft chairman Age Bakker for the Curaçao Business Association (Vereniging Bedrijfsleven Curaçao – VBC), in which, besides the public finance, ample attention was paid to the topic of economic growth. Although the economy is recovering for the first time since Curaçao has become a country, the growth can be intensified by increasing the execution capacity for public investment and by facilitating the private sector. Bakker also suggests that the (youth) unemployment should be addressed and the labor market should be made more flexible so it can respond more quickly to changes in the diversified economy of Curaçao. The government however cannot create jobs, that is up to the private sector. The 'cost of doing business' needs to be lowered, including the bureaucracy with regard to permits. Finally, the administration should be further streamlined and the grip on government entities should be fortified by means of the applicable laws and regulations for good corporate governance. Bakker: "The government can best stimulate the economy by making it easier for the private sector to invest in Curaçao".

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