THE BOTTOM- The Public Entity Saba this week was forced again to submit a skeleton budget to the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT due to the lack of structural funding to cover the operational costs of the local government. Because the free allowance (“vrije uitkering”) has not been substantially adapted to the current situation, the Public Entity Saba for a second time in a row was faced with a skeleton budget.
But since the financial law FINBES prescribes a balanced budget, the draft budget was made balanced by covering the deficit by the general reserve. According to Finance Commissioner Bruce Zagers, this will further weaken the liquidity position and will put an immense strain on government’s ability to function in a responsible manner. “For several years the financial problems that the Public Entity Saba faces are known. This has been confirmed by the CFT, by the auditor Ernst & Young and in various other reports.
The unfavourable liquidity position of the Saba government is also widely known and has been documented in various reports,” said Zagers. Saba’s Island Council and Executive Council have indicated multiple times that with the level of the current free allowance, the Public Entity Saba cannot properly execute its legal tasks that were agreed upon with the Dutch government in the past. In due time, this means that certain tasks can no longer be executed.
According to the Saba Government, it is impossible to continue executing tasks that have been intensified over the years at an acceptable level. “Incidental funds for projects that have structural costs has negatively impacted the financial position of government and the budget. Because of this, many of these initiatives are now at risk and they may need to be stopped,” said Zagers.
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