The 2015 draft budget Saba, approved by the College Financial Supervision CFT, shows a positive balance of US $807,000, which will mainly be used to repay interest-free loans of the Netherlands. This writes The Daily Herald.
The CFT concluded that the draft 2015 budget, which shows a revenue total of US $10.34 million and a expenditure total of US $9.55 million, had been “cautiously” prepared and complied with the financial law that regulates the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, as well as the budget decree of the islands.
CFT Chairman Age Bakker commended this cautious attitude of the Saba government in a letter to Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, dated September 18. To be on the safe side, government decided not to take up possible future proceeds from the Dutch government, such as the adaptation of the free allowance (vrije uitkering) in the draft budget. No real adaptations have taken place in the 2015 draft budget compared to the 2014 budget. The cost of personnel amounts to 56 per cent of the total budget and 10 per cent for subsidies. A total of US $60,000 is set aside for investments in government’s ICT hardware and a school bus of US $50,000.
The anticipated surplus for 2015 has been set at over US $0.8 million. Saba plans to use this surplus to pack back the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK, and repay an interestfree loan to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science OCW for school buildings. Saba has reserved funds to repay a future interest-free loan to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment I&M in connection with projects to strengthen the island’s infrastructure. Saba plans to construct a parking lot for US $1.2 million and improve the road to Fort Bay to the tune of US $2.5 million. The CFT has positively advised on this loan, which so far hasn’t concretised.
The CFT does remain a bit concerned about Saba’s cash position. Saba has indicated that it has some trouble strengthening its cash position. The draft 2015 budget leaves little room for new policy, the improvement of the cash position or the strengthening of what the CFT termed as the “resistance capacity.”
The draft 2015 budget was sent to the CFT on September 11 this year, before the deadline. Once approved by the Island Council, the budget will be sent to the minister of home affairs and kingdom relations, via the CFT. Saba has already received various compliments from the CFT for its efforts to upgrade its financial management.