Categorized | National News

DPM Introduces Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2018

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, K Peter Turnquest  yesterday introduced The Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2018, for public consultation.

The bill sets guiding principles and rules for the way the government spends and accounts for the people’s money, according to Mr. Turnquest, who emphasized the importance of the legislation. 

“Once passed, it will subject this government and all successive governments to new standards of public accountability, and public sector financial management.

“Perhaps more importantly from the public’s point of view, it will empower civil society and the parliament to participate in the system of accountability in a robust and comprehensive way,”Mr.  Turnquest said.

The Minister of Finance  who also introduced the idea of the Fiscal Responsibility Council, said the council is mandated to conduct periodic and on-going assessments of the government’s finance and make its assessments public.

The government is also required to provide its fiscal strategy reports to the Fiscal Responsibility Council and Parliament.

The new law will require the government to submit a Fiscal Adjustment Plan to explain any proposed deviations from its Fiscal Strategy Report.

It will also require the government to present a Fiscal Impact Analysis along with any new spending proposal that falls outside of the approved budget.

“The proposed legislation is very specific and clear: all of these documents are to be made public on specific dates or time periods, and; the contents of each document must conform to the guidelines in the law.”

DPM Turnquest explained that since the new fiscal and debt targets will require a significant adjustment from the current fiscal position, the Bill contemplates a three-year transition period to ensure this is done in an orderly manner.

This time frame, he said will also allow the Ministry of Finance to align its internal resources to deliver on the more rigorous reporting requirements necessary for the public’s assessment of the Government’s fiscal strategy and performance.

However, the Mr. Turnquest  said his ministry is not waiting until the new legislation is passed to start “walking the walk,” and that they’re developing the new 2018/2019 budget based on the standards set in the new bill, even though the law is not yet in the books.

The bill is not expected to be made law until after the budget debate next month. 

“Our budget will embody the principles off accountability, inter-generational equity, responsibility, stability, transparency, and inclusive growth as the bill calls for. 

“Our budget will lower the deficit and it will control the growth in current expenditure. Our budget will take tough decisions to take us on a path to fiscal sustainability. 

The legislation would establish an independent five-member fiscal responsibility counsel comprised of civil society professionals with areas of expertise in law, business, economics, accounting and finance.

This team will not be nominated by the government,  but independently by the Bahamas Bar Association, The Chamber of Commerce, The University of The Bahamas, The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants and The Certified Financial Analysis’ Society of The Bahamas.

The information regarding the bill will also be open to the public for viewing and Mr. Turnquest said the government encourages the public to give their feedback during this consultation period. 

The public can find information on the Bill at the Ministry of Finance’s Facebook Page, on the Government’s website – – and through traditional media outlets.

The draft Bill is also available for download and the public can submit comments to

Written by Jones Bahamas

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