Oranjestad – During the visit of the Financial Supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (CFT) the Executive Council of St. Eustatius has explained in detail the decisions taken to structurally address the capacity problems of the Finance Department of the public entity. The Executive Council, according to CFT, is planning to hire an outside firm to not only implement the financial administration, but also to provide training for the department. “The CFT has long been calling attention for this problem. There now seems to be seriously working on a solution,”said CFT-chairman Age Bakker.
The situation of the Finance Department was discussed extensively during the visit of CFT on March 28 and 29 March with the Executive Council. The Executive Council has indicated that it takes an approach to provide coaching and training of the employees and at the same time ensure a “going concern” situation. CFT has indicated to endorse this approach. The need for reinforcement is big: Sint Eustatius has not been able to produce timely and qualitatively adequate records.
Besides strengthening the Finance Department discussion also took place on the budget and accounting process on St. Eustatius. “Compliance with reporting obligations occurs not timely enough,” said the chairman of the CFT. The annual accounts 2015 and the fourth implementation report in 2016 have yet to be completed. The chairman stressed the fact that these reports are important for both the Executive Council and the Island to understand and be able to give a good way to fill their executive and supervisory role.
The auditing of the 2015 financials is still not finalized and has a substantial delay. The year 2015 is expected to close with a deficit of approximately $ 0.6 million, which will be offset in the 2017 budget. Since the audit has not been completed yet, the final result for 2015 can still change.
St. Eustatius for the year 2016 expects a positive result of approximately US $ 0.5 million at which the previous defect is compensated for by the same size of 2014.
Regarding the 2017 budget, the minister in December has withheld its approval. The Public Entity is currently working on a revised budget for 2017 in which recommendations mentioned in the previous opinion of the CFT are being incorporated. According to CFT it is essential that the agreement with NuStar is promptly completed satisfactorily in order to provide a balanced budget in 2017 and to finance the desired outsourcing of financial accounting for the island.