Saba booked a preliminary positive result of US $1.6 million over the budget year 2021 as a result of incidental additions to the free allowance, lower personnel cost and budgeted unforeseen expenditures that were not spent.
The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT stated this in a letter to Island Governor Jonathan Johnson in a response to the fourth execution report 2021 that the public entity Saba sent to CFT mid-February this year.
Saba’s fourth execution report showed a total of $24.5 million in revenues and $22.9 million during the entire year of 2021. Saba received $12.9 million in free allowance in 2021, of which $10 million in structural means and $2.9 million in incidental funding from the various Dutch ministries.
The preliminary $1.6-million positive result consists of, among other things, $0.6 million in reduced personnel cost with a lower number of staff, $0.3 million unused incidental funding from the Dutch ministries for COVID-19 pandemic support, and $0.3 million unused means for unforeseen expenditures. Also, Saba collected $0.1 million more in revenues from local levies: $1.2 million in 2021 which is more than the year before. This increase was mainly because of revenues from COVID-19 testing and the sale of water bottles from the new water bottling plant Saba Splash.
For 2022, the public entity budgeted $1.6 million in revenues from local levies. The anticipated $0.4 million increase is the result of the sale of water from the Saba Splash plant. The preliminary regular expenditures over 2021 amounted to $15.3 million, of which the largest part, $9.5 million consisted of personnel cost.
Upon presentation of the 2022 budget, Saba anticipated a deficit of $1 million. There is still no solution to structurally improve Saba’s liquidity position and this can only be the case when The Hague approves an increase of the free allowance.
However, the positive preliminary result booked in 2021 combined with the free available liquid means will create a temporary buffer to absorb the anticipated liquidity developments in 2022, CFT stated.
A number of trajectories is ongoing to further strengthen Saba’s financial management. One of the projects concerns the administration of special grants and the reporting on the progress of projects that are financed through these special grants, which add to the burden of the limited capacity at the Finance Department.
Bonaire also has booked a preliminary positive result over the budget year 2021 of $2.7 million. However, the fourth execution agenda of the public entity Bonaire provided insufficient clarity on how this positive result came about, CFT stated in a letter to Bonaire’s Island Governor Edison Rijna. As a result, CFT cannot carry out its legal task as it should.
The CFT was also critical about the fact that it still had not received the 2020 annual accounts of Bonaire’s government entities. The CFT was positive about the progress that Bonaire has made in the area of financial management with the completion of another three points of the list of 12 priority areas. Five points are left to implement from that list.
Bonaire’s fourth execution report of 2021 showed a total of $53.3 million in revenues and $50.6 million in expenditures.
The Daily Herald.