According to the Court of Audit, the ministers also fall short in creating reserves. Reserves are important so that a ministry can absorb financial setbacks – for example, if a party cannot repay the loan. But the study shows that hardly any reserves have been created, while the government estimates that the expected damage from the guarantees is 2.6 billion euros.
Aerts: “That means that there is no special pot to get that money out if things go wrong. And that is at the expense of other pots. In many cases, it is not clear now which pots they are.”
That would mean that if damage is suffered, other policies would have to be broken. Aerts: “The minister is now keeping that a little in the middle and that is not good. This is public money that is spent and we depend on the minister for this.
Because that information has not gone well either, the Court of Audit sees. Aerts: “For each loan, a so-called assessment framework must be complied with. The minister then puts the practical information on paper: what amount is borrowed, for how long, for what purpose, what is the expected damage, etc.”
This assessment framework is then sent to the Lower House before it approves the loan or guarantee. Only then can the minister spend money. In times of crisis, the exception applies that a minister may spend money before approval is given, but an important condition is that the House is informed about this in advance. informed.
The Court concludes that in 10 of the 22 cases this did not happen and that the information was only sent after the Court had already given its consent. According to the authority, this means that the Chamber cannot properly perform its supervisory task.
In a response to the report, the Minister of Finance promises to evaluate the rules and to make more careful use of the assessment framework.