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New Legislation To 'Codify' Quarterly Fiscal Reporting

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Government's plans to publish quarterly fiscal reports will be "codified" in new laws to overhaul the public sector's financial management, the deputy prime minister said yesterday.

K Peter Turnquest told a seminar for senior civil servants that the Government's processes must be reformed, and made more transparent and accountable, as the current legal framework for public financial management is "outdated and inadequate" to meet the demands of good governance.

Addressing a session on the draft Public Financial Management (PFM) Bill, he said: "As the Government continues to push forward with the modernisation of the public dervice, a priority of the Ministry of Finance is shaping a new culture of transparency and accountability in public finances.

"The PFM bill will do just that, along with the soon-to-be-enacted Fiscal Responsibility Bill, and proposed Public Debt Management Bill and Public Procurement Bill. These signature pieces of legislation represent key pillars in the broader public financial management reform agenda.

"They will reinforce the Government's commitment to the promotion of efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and comprehensive financial reporting. They will also bring the country in line with international best practices governing public financial management. Pushing forward with this major legislative overhaul is, therefore, a must."

The Government is being supported by the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC). Mr Turnquest said that because of the need for extensive revisions, the Government decided to replace the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAAA) with more modern and legislation.

He said the PFM Bill will "align with standards such as the IMF's Code of Fiscal Transparency, and is supportive of the other body of legislation aimed at securing the proper management of the country's public finances and promoting fiscal discipline".

Mr Turnquest added: "The PFM law will set new standards, and hold civic servant to a higher standard of accountability, including those elected by the people.

"The Bahamian public deserves a government that understands its responsibility to be accountable. To fulfill this obligation, we need the tools to support our work, and the legislative reform is all about that. These changes will create tools for you to use, for us all to use, to serve the Bahamian people better."

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