PARAMARIBO–Finance Minister Wonnie Boedhoe abruptly resigned on Friday June 8th, citing personal circumstances, President Desi Bouterse’s office has said. “In consultation with Mrs Boedhoe will be examined how she would be deployed and how the transfer of the Ministry of Finance will take place,” a statement from the president’s office read. Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin will temporarily fill in the post. Speculations are meanwhile abound one who will replace Boedhoe permanently.
According to the statement, Bouterse accepted Boedhoe’s request and thanked her for her service since her appointment 10 months ago. Boedhoe is the second Minister to last less than a year in Bouterse’s Cabinet; Bouterse in December, less than four months after his Government took reign, fired Minister Martinus Sastroredjo of Spatial Planning, Domain and Forestry Management.
Since taking seat, Government has announced a number of ambitious plans, mainly in infrastructure, such as the construction of 18,000 houses, a road to southern neighbour Brazil and a bridge to western neighbour Guyana.
Citing enormous budget challenges, government a few months ago introduced several financial measures in an effort to elevate state revenues, including a tax increase on gasoline, alcohol, tobacco and casinos, and the devaluation of Surinamese dollar.
Then last week, Government announced a package of 13 new relief measures that should “lessen the pressure caused by the financial measures.” Bouterse announced that among the new measures is a 55 % increase of pensions, as will child support and the support for challenged people. Income tax on salaries lower than 800 SRD will be waived, income tax will be decreased and public transport will be subsidized.
But Bouterse recently hinted that he was not satisfied with the performance of several people in his team. Without naming names and blaming “broken” infrastructures within Government for the performance of the people in question, the President said last week that pending discussions between Government and Parliament would be a good time for Ministers to show that they understand his Government’s policies and execute them properly. Speculations are now that Boedhoe was one Minister Bouterse was hinting at.