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Submissions process for designates to Fiscal Responsibility Council almost complete

The government has almost completed receiving submissions for designates to the Fiscal Responsibility Council, from the entities which the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) mandates the council be formed from, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that the council will be privy to the 2019/2020 budget.

The council will be comprised of individuals from civil society and professionals with specific areas of expertise in law, business, economics, accounting and finance, according to the act.

The new oversight body will be involved in the budget process as mandated by the act. Its members will be nominated independently by the Bahamas Bar Association, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, the University of The Bahamas, the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Certified Financial Analyst Society of The Bahamas.

“I would leave it to them to name the persons they put forth,” Turnquest said.

“They will have a look at the budget as required by the act.”

The FRA sets policy that will seek to constrain the government’s fiscal processes and keep the country on a medium-term trajectory toward economic growth, while creating a culture of transparency and responsibility with regard to public funds.

The bill will require the government to reduce its debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio to 50 percent of GDP over time.

Besides lowering the debt-to-GDP level, the law, when implemented, will require the government to lower the fiscal deficit of 5.8 percent of GDP to no more than 0.5 percent within three years.

The government will also be required to keep its comparative year-on-year current expenditure in check.

The act also limits the government’s ability to spend beyond its budgets without oversight and increase spending during an election year.

It does, however, allow for the government to spend beyond its budget during times of crisis, though those scenarios, like others will have to be put before Parliament and the council.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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