BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - The Executive Council faces major challenges in the field of financial management and must take steps to formalize the land policy. The Board of Financial Supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) has indicated this in discussions with the Executive Council. The Cft also advises Bonaire to make a spending plan for the reserves built up in recent years.
There are positive reports about the expected recovery on Bonaire in the second half of this year. The number of corona infections is under control, partly as a result of a relatively high vaccination rate. The recovery of the tourism will lead to higher tax revenues for Bonaire. In the first quarter of 2021, tourism-related benefits were USD 0.5 million lower than budgeted. It is expected that these incomes, including tax revenues, will increase in the second half of 2021.
Bonaire is making insufficient progress in the area of financial management. For the annual accounts of 2020 the auditor submitted a disclaimer of opinion on the 2020 annual accounts. An update of the financial management improvement plan is currently being carried out. Due to delays in the financial management improvement process, an unqualified audit opinion for 2021 no longer seems feasible. It is of great importance that Bonaire takes the necessary steps in improving its financial management and works towards an unqualified auditor's report before 2022. Now that two important positions have been filled - the Head of Finance and the Island Secretary - the Cft hopes that Bonaire will take the necessary steps to that effect.
When approving the budget, the Minister of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) amongst others set the condition that the public entity Bonaire quickly adopts the land policy. However, the framework memorandum for land policy has been at the Island Council for some time now. In the meantime, the deadlines of December 31st, 2020, and April 30th, 2021 respectively for adopting this policy have passed.
The Cft visited Bonaire on June 29th, 2021, and held discussions with the Executive Council, the Island Council, the acting Kingdom Representative and the program manager of the administrative agreement.