Friday , March 31 2023

Finance Management praised

The Daily Herald reports that Commissioner Bruce Zagers presented Saba’s Island Government 2013 Year Report and the first Budget Amendment for 2014 in the public Central Committee meeting held on Wednesday, June 25, receiving praise from councilmen and national cabinet members. Zagers also defended in the same meeting the appointment of Ernst & Young Dutch Caribbean as the government’s accountant for the fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016. His remarks on the positive feedback from the Finance Department on the good working cooperation with the accountant were seconded by Island Council Members Carl Buncamper and Amelia Nicholson with all three proposals being adopted the following day in the Island Council meeting.
In presenting the 2013 Year Report, Commissioner Zagers noted that “no fraudulent activities or irregularities were found,” and pointed to the favourable qualified auditing opinion on the financial statements for the second consecutive year. “This is a very positive step for Saba,” said Zagers, “Saba is the only island in the Dutch Caribbean to receive such a positive statement. This message has also echoed in the Netherlands, where during the Caribbean Netherlands (CN) week. We recently received congratulations about how well Saba is progressing, especially in financial management.”
Commissioner Zagers stressed that “Saba is also the only island in the Dutch Caribbean to have a “normen kader” (reference framework) and to end the year with a positive balance.” The island’s positive balance of US $1.6 million is mostly in assets not in cash liquidity, with investments accounted for, not at cost price, but at depreciation value.
The Executive Council is requesting that the Island Council place the US $1.6-million surplus in the general reserve of US $2.9 million. Saba’s general and specific reserve totals US $6.2 million, a significant improvement for the island’s financial position. The liquidity position remains a risk with a decrease in cash flow explained by significant investments done in previous years.
Councilman Buncamper used the public session to commend the executive’s performance in succeeding to reduce several highrisk areas to medium or low. He requested insights into what is done to ensure remaining challenges are addressed with regard to the liquidity position (invorderingsbeleid).
Zagers explained time is needed to implement internal control procedures required for this to occur. Zagers defended the first Budget Amendment for 2014 as “purely technical, involving no policy changes, but adjustments of allocated budget lines to avoid overspending, basic housekeeping.”
Commissioner Chris Johnson also addressed the committee publicly, briefing them on the recent CN week negotiations in The Hague. He commenced by congratulating Commissioner Zagers, making the point that Saba’s financial management achievements and having the “financial house in order,” conferred on Saba’s delegation a position of strength in the negotiations.


Expectations for a resetting of responsibilities
Island Governor Johnson sworn in for a second term