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  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says he will be tabling a draft Fiscal Council Bill in Parliament shortly.
  • Closing the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 24), Dr. Clarke said that the Bill seeks to, among other things, “entrench durable accountability of fiscal policy and address gaps".
  • “In that Bill, we seek to address this structural issue by proposing that the Fiscal Council not only review the Fiscal Policy Paper (FPP) when tabled in February, and the interim FPP in September, but also comment in June and in December on the Budget out-turns and as needed otherwise,” he said.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says he will be tabling a draft Fiscal Council Bill in Parliament shortly.

Closing the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 24), Dr. Clarke said that the Bill seeks to, among other things, “entrench durable accountability of fiscal policy and address gaps”.

“In that Bill, we seek to address this structural issue by proposing that the Fiscal Council not only review the Fiscal Policy Paper (FPP) when tabled in February, and the interim FPP in September, but also comment in June and in December on the Budget out-turns and as needed otherwise,” he said.

He noted that the move will empower the soon-to-be-established Fiscal Council, to ensure that Government’s policy commitments are consistent with the Fiscal Responsibility Law and that policymaking can continue to be dynamic.

“I look forward to the tabling of this Bill and to the, hopefully, constructive discussion and debate that it will generate, and to its eventual passage and bringing into law of the independent Fiscal Council,” Dr, Clarke said.

“Strengthening and building institutions are the cornerstone of achieving and maintaining economic independence, which is a central economic policy plank of the Government of Jamaica,” he added.

Speaking at a media round table at the Finance Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston in September last year, Dr. Clarke had informed that the draft legislation is intended to facilitate the establishment of a Fiscal Council by April 2020.

He explained that the Council will be the final arbiter of Jamaica’s Fiscal Rules that stipulate, among other things, a debt-reduction target of 60 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by financial year 2025/26.

The Council will make independent commentary on the FPP, laid in Parliament simultaneously with the Budget, which outlines a medium-term profile and projections.

Additionally, the Council will comment, independently, on the interim FPP laid in the House in September each year, and will have access, via legislation, to data from the Ministry and other government agencies.

Further, the Council will be required to make periodic statements publicly about Jamaica’s fiscal trajectory and whether government policies are broadly consistent with those objectives.

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