Wednesday , February 28 2024

Borrowing by islands may become possible

The Daily Herald writes that capital investments for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba may become a possibility in the near future. Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk promised to take this up in next year’s constitutional evaluation. The minister stated this in response to a request by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA during a debate on Thursday. According to Van Laar, the three public entities should be allowed to make capital investments when they comply with the conditions of financial supervision. Van Laar said the current model for the Caribbean Netherlands was very strict and gave the islands no leeway to make the necessary capital investments for economic development and to strengthen their autonomy. The islands have been complying with the financial supervision; the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT has approved their finances and they have had balanced budgets. “Yet they have no possibility to borrow. They depend on the investments by the Dutch ministries. Can’t we give them more leeway to invest in their development,” said Van Laar. The public entities should be able to make their own decisions where it comes to capital investments. He gave Saba as an example. “Saba has approved accountant’s declarations, has produced balanced budgets and timely annual accounts. The CFT has repeatedly complimented Saba for having its finances in order,” Van Laar told The Daily Herald in an invited comment. “Yet, Saba can’t do anything. Plans have been drawn up, but they can’t finance those from their budget,” he said, mentioning the plans for the harbour, infrastructure and social housing. “The investments are too big to finance from their budget. A solution is needed.” Plasterk said during the debate that he agreed with Van Laar that the (financial) relations were too strict and could use some slackening. He promised to take this matter along in the 2015 general evaluation of the constitutional relations.


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