POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings said that the Government has paid Naf.20 million to the General Pension Fund of Sint Maarten (APS) as part of its debt settlement.
The payment was made in June. The payment was possible after receiving liquidity support of almost Naf. 33 million in May from the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, which is managed by the World Bank and financed by the Netherlands Government.
Naf. 10 million of the liquidity support has been used to finance this payment. The other Naf. 10 million has been financed from reserved monies for APS related to received payments by Sint Maarten from the division of assets of the former Netherlands Antilles.
APS claims a total amount of Naf.40 million from Government and with Naf.20 million paid off, the balance left to be settled is Naf.20 million.
The Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings hopes to receive a proposal from APS by the end of September on how the balance of the debt can be settled.
“We need to have more discussions between now and the end of September. We are making tremendous headway in complying with the 2015 Kingdom Government instructions.
“The settlement of debts with the pension fund was one of the instructions for measures to make our health and pension systems financially viable.
“With the agreements reached with GEBE, Telem and the Social & Health Insurances SZV with the signing of a Letter of Intent in August, and the near completion of debt settlement with our pension fund APS, we would have complied with the Kingdom Government 2015 instructions as it relates to the aforementioned.
“We are now able to present a more realistic 2020 national budget for the country due to these debt clearance measures being undertaken by the Government.
“Going forward we need strict budgetary discipline in order to achieve what we would like for the country’s overall national socio-economic development.
“Debt settlement also allows for additional liquidity support during these very challenging times as a result of the catastrophic damage caused to our country by Hurricane Irma.
“Our fragile economic recovery will continue to grow slowly as additional resorts come back online and are built within the next two years.
“I am feeling upbeat with what we have achieved to date and we must be thankful for what we have been able to achieve as a nation so far despite our challenges. We are indeed a resilient people and country,” Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings said on Thursday.