The public entity Saba in the first half of 2022 realised a negative result of US $1.6 million, but the budget remains balanced because of financial contributions from the Dutch government.
This can be deduced from a letter that the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT sent to the Saba government on August 11 in response to the second execution report and the advice that it gave on the second 2022 budget amendment.
The negative result of the first half of 2022 was mainly due to a lower realisation of revenues than originally budgeted. At the same time, Saba can look forward to financial assistance from the Netherlands in the form of an increase of the free allowance by $2.2 million for 2022 and a contribution of $0.9 million to offset the deficits.
These additions offer a solution for the backlogs that came about in the past years as a result of the structural negative balance on special allowances, the CFT stated. “The expectation is that the preliminary negative result of $1.6 million can be covered in the second half of the year with additional means from the Dutch government. This does mean that a large part of these extra means has to be used to cover deficits and cannot be used for new investments.”
The CFT approved the proposed budget amendment. In total, the Saba government requested a change of $2.7 million, increasing the budget amount from $15 million to $17.7 million. The budget will remain balanced.
The realisation of the revenues in the first half of 2022 was due to a backlog at the Receiver’s Office which collected fewer taxes. In the second quarter, this backlog was largely recovered. The government has indicated that it expects to collect the backlog in waste management fees and airport fees in the third quarter.
During the first quarter it became clear that the administration of the Receiver’s Office was not up to date and that collectables were not well-managed. It was decided to restructure the Finance Department and to place the Receiver’s Office directly under the Finance Department. This took place in May.
Additional personnel were hired at the Finance Department to increase the capacity and control. “The CFT considers the restructuring and the strengthening of the execution capacity of the Finance Department a positive development.” The CFT was also positive about the timely submitting of the second execution report.
The cost of personnel increased in the second quarter by 10% compared to the first quarter. This was mainly due to an increase in the number of fulltime employees (FTE — Full Time Equivalent) which grew from 190 FTE to 203 FTE.
The Daily Herald.