PHILIPSBURG:--- The Ministry of Finance is pleased to share the journey of securing CAPEX for the budget year 2023, marking a significant milestone in enhancing the future of Sint Maarten. The path to obtaining CAPEX has been long and taxing, but it reflects our commitment to responsible financial management and delivering essential investments to benefit the people of Sint Maarten.
In the past, Sint Maarten faced challenges in meeting the standards set by the RFT article 15 in conjunction with article 16 (Kingdom Act on Financial Supervision of Curacao and Sint Maarten) for capital investments. Consequently, CAPEX requests went unapproved for several years, with the last successful approval and allocation of funds occurring in 2014. Recognizing the importance of securing funding for vital investments, the Ministry of Finance initiated a comprehensive reform process.
The Ministry began with a commitment to enhance transparency, accountability, and the substantiation of investment proposals. The Ministry of Finance adopted a three-fold approach:
- Proper Explanation: Each investment was meticulously explained in the budget, ensuring clarity and transparency.
- Impact on future budgets: Future expenses resulting from these investments were accurately disclosed and recorded in the multi-year budgets.
- Justification of investment value: Investments were supported by comprehensive calculations or quotes, substantiating the amount of each investment item.
This process not only refined investment proposals but also involved educating personnel on the importance of meeting these standards.
Following the approval of the 2023 budget, the CAPEX portion underwent thorough scrutiny by the CFT (Committee for Financial Supervision of Curacao and Sint Maarten) under Article 12. The CFT's statement on CAPEX reads: "Sint Maarten budgets a total of ANG 90 million for investments in 2023. These investments are sufficiently substantiated, including a multi-year impact assessment on the budget."
Unlike previous years, the CAPEX loan process underwent adjustments, requiring a risk assessment by the Netherlands and approval by the Netherlands Council of Ministers, ‘Tweede Kamer’, and ‘Eerste Kamer’. This adjustment resulted in some delays, especially due to their summer recess.
After a six-month wait since Parliament's approval of the 2023 budget on March 31, 2023, we are thrilled to announce that the Eerste Kamer granted their final approval on September 26, 2023, for the CAPEX loan of approximately Naf 60.9 million. We are now in the final stages of the process to receive the funding, bringing us one step closer to executing crucial investments for the betterment of Sint Maarten.
The approved CAPEX for 2023 encompasses a range of projects that will positively impact Sint Maarten's infrastructure and community, including but not limited to:
- Shade for the Dr. Martin Luther King School Playground
- Renovation of various sports facilities
- Expansion and reconstruction of the John Larmonie Center and Philipsburg Cultural and Community Center
- Completion of the Prins Willem Alexander School
- Hard surfacing of various dirt and main roads
- Dutch Quarter road development program
- Expansion of the sewage network, co-financed by the Trust Fund and the Netherlands.
- Improved software & hardware for various departments.
The additional Naf 29.1 has been granted by the Netherlands to cover the financing of the new Tax and Financial Management System as well as phase one of construction of the new prison.
As we await the final steps in securing the funding, the Ministry of Finance remains committed to ensuring that these investments contribute to the growth, development, and prosperity of Sint Maarten.