Published On: Tue, Dec 13th, 2016

Cft Chairman Age Bakker: “Long-term vision on public finances is of great importance”

Improvement financial management should be priority

college-financieel-toezicht-bonaire-saba-en-sint-eustatiusKRALENDIJK - The Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) has advised the Executive Council and the Island Council during its visit to Bonaire on December 12 to pursue a long-term vision of sustainable public finances. "To achieve this governmental stability is important for the purpose of drawing up and implementing multi-year projects as well as for the investment climate," Cft President Age Bakker stated.

During its visit the Board met with the Lieutenant Governor, the Executive Council and the Island Council. The Board also paid a working visit to the Port and Pilotage (Haven & Loodswezen) of Bonaire. Stimulating economic development calls for political calmness; plans that are still in draft form need to be implemented. The Cft requested attention for these issues.

The Cft has also drawn attention to the improvement of the financial management. This is a recurring topic of conversation that requires tenacity on the part of Bonaire. Bonaire has made progress on this issue by hiring external support to screen and tighten existing processes and procedures. The Board appreciates Bonaire’s ambition to improve its financial management and to work towards an unqualified audit opinion. This requires sustained attention from the government. “Given the findings of the auditor on the financial statements 2015, the Board calls for a speedy and proper implementation of the new processes and procedures. This should contribute in making it possible that an unqualified audit opinion can be expected within a realistic timeframe”, Age Bakker declared.

Bonaire is counting on a positive result of USD 5.3 million for the period up to the third quarter of 2016. At year-end 2016 a neutral budget balance is still expected. The 2017 budget assumes a balanced budget. The capital expenditure shows a positive balance of USD 0.2 million after repayments and planned investments. As such, the budget meets the legal requirements. The Cft has requested the government to heed the fulfillment of crucial functions. Some of these functions are essential in improving the aforementioned financial management. Furthermore, Bonaire has to update the maintenance plans and include the estimated costs in future budgets. For the 2017 budget a first step is made to include an amount of USD 1.3 million for regular maintenance expenses. Fr the Cft this can be labelled as a good development. In time the full amount of maintenance expenses will have to be included in the budget.

Additionally, the Cft observed that progress has been made with regard to the timely submission of budget-related documents in accordance with the FinBES Act. The 2015 financial statements, the third implementation report of 2016 including the third supplementary budget and the draft 2017 budget have all been submitted on time. The Board praises Bonaire with this advancement.

The Cft has spoken with the Board of the Port and Pilotage. The port activities are vital for the economy. Among others the recent agreement with Port of Amsterdam on the restoration of the harbor was discussed during the visit. The Cft was furthermore informed on developments that are of significance for Bonaire.

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