The amounts that the Dutch government is making available in special allowances for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba is going down in the coming years. This seems to be in contravention of the promise of The Hague to invest more in the islands.
The Rutte IV government announced in its coalition accord earlier this year that it would invest an additional 30 million euros per year in the Caribbean Netherlands. At the same time, however, the budget item “Special allowances” will go down in the coming years.
This became clear from a letter that Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Monday. The letter contained two overviews: the special allowances per ministry and the special allowances per public entity.
For 2022, the total amount of special allowances of all ministries combined has been set at 22.3 million euros. In 2023, the amount increases to 27.8 million euros, in 2024 it goes down to 23.1 million euros while the 2025 budget shows a total of 22.1 million euros and the 2026 budget 10.2 million euros.
In 2021, the ministries spent a combined 45.3 million euros on or for the three islands. The largest amount came from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK with 13 million euros, followed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management with 12.9 million euros.
The special allowances per public entity are also going down the coming years. Whereas St. Eustatius received 10.6 million euros in special allowances in 2021, this amount is slashed to 1.6 million euros for 2022 and two million euros for 2023. For both 2023 and 2024, 1.7 million has been allocated in special allowances for St. Eustatius.
Aside from the special allowances for the individual islands, there is also a budget item for the entire Caribbean Netherlands. The amount for this budget item increases from 9.5 million euros in 2021 to 11.3 million euros in 2022 and 15.6 million euros in 2023 and the two years thereafter.
The special allowance for the Public Entity Saba was 3.5 million in 2021. This increases to 4.3 million euros in 2022 and 2023. For 2024 and the two years after that, the Dutch government has allocated 1.3 million euros in special allowances for Saba.
In total, the Dutch government will be spending almost 23 million euros less in special allowances in 2022 compared to 2021.
The Daily Herald.