Bahamas tables new legislation to promote transparency

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Bahamas: The government of Bahamas tables suite of new legislation in the House of Assembly to usher in new transparency and responsibility levels.

According to the information, In keeping with its word to reform public finance management in The Bahamas, the Government tabled a suite of new legislation in the House of Assembly yesterday to usher in new transparency and responsibility levels.

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The Most Honourable Prime Minister Hubert A. Minnis impersonated the Public Debt Management Bill, 2021; the Public Finance Management Bill, 2021 (PFM); the Statistics Bill, 2021 and the Public Procurement Bill, 2020 that was first read in this Chamber last year.

“Legislative betterment doesn’t often seem revolutionary, but we don’t want Bahamians to miss the monumental differences these bills will bring about. For the Public Finance Management Bill, there will be criminal penalties inflicted for the first time for financial misconduct in the public sector.

Everyone will be held to a much higher standard. New financial reporting demands, like monthly budget reports, will be introduced to Government for the first time,” stated by Kwasi Thomson, Minister of State for Finance.

Bahamians may have considered these things were in place, but the truth is, the Financial Administration and Audit Act, 2010 (FAA Act), which we are now substituting, had many weaknesses and was outdated,” told Minister Thompson.

The PFM Bill transitions to a principles-based access to public financial management, thereby focusing on outcomes, rather than taking an administrative procedure, as was the FAA case. This Bill requires outcomes-based budgeting and communicating to support comprehensive management of the budget.

“Again, this is very significant as it will require cultural developments within our ministries and agencies. Ministries are not only accountable for spending and accounting for budgeted resources.

They will now be accountable for tracking and reporting the impact of their spending and their programs. Are they using public funds in a way that delivers the desired and intended results? These are monumental turns we are ushering in with our legislative forms,” said Minister Thompson.

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