photo: Laura Bijnsdorp

PHILIPSBURG – According to the draft budget for 2018, which parliament will discuss on Thursday, Sint Maarten will have to work with non-closing budgets up to and including 2020.

The deficits amount to 486.2 million Antillean guilders. Only in 2021 does the government foresee a small surplus of 4.1 million. In the coming years, Sint Maarten will need liquidity support from the Netherlands, since it cannot pay its bills. The revenue per quarter amounts to 90 million and the expenditure to 130 million.

In 2018, the projected expenses amount to just over half a billion. This represents 303.4 million in income. The planned 24 million to reduce the deficit has been canceled. Only in 2020 will the country cautiously begin to absorb the deficits from previous years.

No costs savings
Right now, there are no plans for cost savings in the budget. A substantial reduction in costs is only possible through rigorous interventions in the government organization. Because a large part of the fixed costs are tied to contracts, such interventions take a long time and will cause a lot of friction, the government believes.

The economy of Sint Maarten has collapsed completely and will shrink by 9.1 percent in 2018. This is reflected in ‘dramatically lower tax revenues’. The government also faces delays in payments to health insurance SZV, General Pension Sint Maarten and other creditors and by July 2017 the amount rose to 106.9 million guilders.