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|Minister Mike de Meza: Public finances allow for a lump sum of Afl. 825 for each public worker in 2013, not for indexation|
|Friday, 14 December 2012 20:08|
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The government has challenges and public finances do not allow for an indexation at this time, De Meza explained. Among the challenges is the lack of income from the refinery which has stopped its operations, which affected the government's income. Last year government in a meeting with labor unions said there was a forecast of 8.5% growth of the economy, which has not been the case since the refinery shut down. The Central Bank has already indicated, according to De Meza, that the government has to cut 70 million florin in its budget for 2013, although the government itself is thinking in the direction of somewhere between 70 and 100 million florin. "We have to be cautious with this because the entire world is experiencing big challenges. We have received confirmation that the Dutch government has frozen all public worker's salaries and that of those who have a status similar to that of public workers for five years," De Meza said, adding that Aruba does not want to reach this point. "We prefer to evaluate the situation each year to see how the situation is and how we can compensate the public workers," De Meza explained. He emphasized that in all protocols it is stated that every thing depends on public finances. If the challenges facing the island are handled irresponsibly it could result in international rating agencies lowering Aruba's rating. The government has maintained a responsible system the past three years, De Meza explained, working on the economic recovery, while helping the most vulnerable. "The government has demonstrated goodwill, but should keep the situation in balance. At times when the situation becomes difficult, we have to hold off a little. It is in the benefit of Aruba in its entirety to maintain responsible finances," he concluded.