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Fiscal Strategy To Bring Order

Screenshot 2019-02-07 at 5.08.09 AM

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Peter Turnquest has announced a strategy to put check and balances  in the fiscal affairs of the country. 

Leading the debate for a resolution to accept the 2018 Fiscal Strategy Report – a public document that guides the creation of the annual budget  in the House of Assembly, Mr. Turnquest said the strategy is essentially about restoring order to public finances.

“When we get our fiscal affairs in order, we create room for spending to be used for capital needs, such as infrastructure, that creates jobs for individuals and not just created jobs, but real jobs,” he said.

“In fact, a three-year capital expenditure plan is currently in the works, that seeks to take a hard look at capital projects that are already developed, those in the pipeline, and those not yet developed to see how best we can accommodate them in our medium-term plan,” he added.

“With the aim of garnering fruitful, and sustainable improvements in national productivity and economic growth.”

The  Deputy  Prime Minister said the government’s approach to enhancing fiscal responsibility, both in legislative terms as well as in concrete terms was first exemplified by its actions in the 2018/19 budget. 

“The fiscal plan laid out in the 2018/19 Budget Communication contains the concrete measures needed to secure the elimination of the fiscal deficit by 2020/21 and to put the debt burden on a clear downward track to more sustainable levels,” he said.


“And, in order to secure these fiscal gains, we developed and introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act, that came into effect on October 1st of last year,” he added.

“The Act provides a strong, depoliticized institutional framework for fiscal policy—so as to ensure that no future Government ever again engages in flagrant irresponsible fiscal practices that could once more threaten the future prosperity of our nation.

“To this end, the Act contains legally binding fiscal rules that place limits on the annual fiscal balance and the debt-to-GDP ratio.”

However, Minister Turnquest, said the Fiscal Responsibility Act provides for regular and explicit fiscal reporting for public and parliamentary scrutiny and also an independent mechanism for assessment of compliance with the fiscal responsibility principles and objectives and for the provision of advice.


“The Act provides for the establishment of an independent, private sector Fiscal Responsibility Council (FTC) that will be responsible for assessing the Government’s compliance with the general principles, fiscal responsibility principles and fiscal objectives of the Act and advising on fiscal and budgetary matters of the Government,” he said.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Council is to be established in July 2019, in time to review and assess the 2019/20 Budget.

“I fully expect it to be a very active and constructive participation in the fiscal strategy review process beginning with the second Fiscal Strategy Report in November 2019.”

The Deputy Prime Minister added that in order to enhance fiscal transparency and accountability on a timelier basis, the government has also initiated the publication of quarterly fiscal performance reports, with the most recent report—the second of its kind—having been published last week for the first half of the 2018/19 fiscal year.

Meantime, Opposition Deputy Leader, Chester Cooper said while the Progressive Liberal Party supports the ideal of fiscal responsibility, the government is simply, running out of time.


“You wasted all our time in here with legislation like the Commercial Enterprises Bill that has not brought any tangible results to this economy,” he said.

“You wasted time playing politics, calling the PLP corrupt in budget speeches; calling the entire country corrupt on the international stage, instead of concentrating on lowering the unemployment rate, and focusing on economic growth, you wasted time,” he added.

“Now you want to drag your gaze away from what you said was the number one,

two, three, four, five problem in the country: corruption.”

Meantime, Englerston MP, Glenys Hanna-Martin said the debate should not  have even taken place. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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