Four already ratified acts designed to improve performance and accountability in regards to the country’s public finances will come into effect by this summer, as myriad changes need to be made to government mechanisms and offices and training needs to take place before the changes in those acts can be implemented within government departments, a statement from the Ministry of Finance revealed.
The Public Finance Management Act, Public Debt Management Act and the Statistics Act will come into effect on July 1; while the Public Procurement Act is slated to come into effect on September 1.
Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson said in the statement that the Public Procurement Act will require significant operational changes, adding that some parts of the Public Finance Management Act will take up to 2025 to implement.
“The Public Procurement Act requires changes at all central government ministries and departments, as well as state-owned enterprises and authorities,” Johnson said.
“It will require significant staff training, vendor education and awareness; and the establishment of new functions such as a tribunal to handle disputes.”
According to Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson, these acts raise the standard of the government’s existing financial and data management systems.
“The laws mandate that all information regarding budgets, public sector data, debt management plans, procurement opportunities and awarded government contracts be published within a specific time frame,” said Thompson.
“Importantly, it permits the government to carve out certain procurement activities for small Bahamian businesses, which will help entrepreneurs to have better access to potentially substantial government contracts.”
Johnson said the coming changes in some circumstances require enhanced accounting and new accountability features for permanent secretaries, heads of departments and heads of state-owned enterprises and authorities.
He added that the government will carry out education campaigns for both internal and external stakeholders in relation to the changes from the new acts.
“The new committees, boards and institutions created through this legislation will also be formalized over this period,” said Johnson.