Dutch ministries allocate 281.7M euros for islands

The Dutch Government will be spending 281.7 million euros on (behalf of) the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba next year, writes The Daily Herald.

This is in addition to the 33.4 million for the socalled BES Fund to finance the tasks of the local governments in the Caribbean Netherlands. Tax revenues for 2016 have been calculated at 133.2 million euros.

According to figures released in the 2016 budget of the Dutch Government, which was presented on Tuesday, the biggest chunk of the expenditures by the Dutch ministries will be on account of, as is customary, the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS.

The VWS ministry has allocated some 118 million euros for health care on the three islands. This is one million more than in 2015. For 2017 the expenditures of this ministry have been calculated even higher at about 121 million euros.

The second biggest spender is the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science OCW. About 51 million euros have been reserved to cover the cost of, among others, primary education, secondary education and vocational education, as well as subsidies for schools and study financing. This is less than the some 54 million euros allocated in 2015.

The Ministry of Security and Justice V&J has reserved about 33 million euros for the Caribbean Netherlands. This amount includes the cost of police and contributions to the various crime fighting organisations. The total amount is only slightly less than in 2015.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour SZW has allocated some 23 million euros to pay for, among others, the old age pension, social welfare and illness/ pregnancy. New in the 2016 budget is the allocation of 1.7 million euros for child allowance (kinderbijslag). Per January 1, 2016, parents will receive a monthly contribution of US $38 per child.

The costs of the Caribbean Netherlands Tax Office to the tune of 13 million euros are being paid for by the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Economic Affairs EZ will be spending some 12 million euros of which the majority is dedicated for sustainable energy.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment I&M has allocated about 12 million euros for, among others aviation, the maritime sector, harbours and meteorological services. The monies from this ministry were reduced by more than 5 million euros compared to 2015.

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK has allocated some 5 million euros, mostly for the promotion of the social-economic structure.

In 2015, the combined ministries spent 296.1 million euros on the Caribbean Netherlands which became part of the Netherlands in October 2010. In 2016, the total amount will go down to 281.7 million euros, and in 2017 the allocated funds for the islands are anticipated to decrease to 267.4 million.

The BES Fund will be reduced to 33.4 million in 2016. In 2015 34 million was allocated for this fund which serves to cover the expenses of the island governments.

It has been calculated that a total of 133.2 million euros will be generated in tax and premium revenues in 2016. The biggest part, 79.9 million euros will come from wage tax and insurance premiums. The general consumption tax ABB is expected to yield 30.5 million euros. Property tax and excise duties will generate 8 million and 8.6 million euros respectively.

The Multi-annual Programme will be executed in 2016 for Bonaire and Saba to develop the economy, combat poverty and strengthen the administration. Funding for St. Eustatius has been put on hold due to the administrative and financial supervision that has been in effect since June 2015.

The so-called Caribbean Netherlands Week, the forum for talks between the islands and the Dutch Government, will cease to exist in its current form. Another format will be sought in 2016 for these consultations with the islands

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