The Government is proposing a half-yearly report on the performance of the economy for each fiscal year, as it seeks to further strengthen the role of Parliament in providing oversight for the country's economic programme, and specifically, in controlling the debt.
The report is being proposed under the Financial Administration and Audit Act regulations, Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, explained to the House of Representatives, Thursday May 24, as he opened the 2012/2013 Budget Debate, under the theme: ‘A New And Binding Covenant For Stability, Equitable Growth And Prosperity’.
Dr. Phillips said the report would be within the context of the country’s medium term economic programme, and that the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) would be expected to then consider, usually in November of each year, the status of the medium term economic programme; the progress on meeting the specified fiscal targets, including the fiscal deficit/surplus and the primary surplus; the resource and borrowing needs for the remainder of the current fiscal year; and the implications for the specified targets for the ensuing fiscal year, in the context of the medium term economic programme.
"As part of this effort, the PAAC would need to indicate its views of spending priorities, borrowing needs and revenue needs for the ensuing fiscal year. Ultimately though, for these systems to work, the Parliament will need to be seized of national as distinct from sectional interests,” the Minister said.
Most of all, he said, it will require a commitment to sound fiscal operations on behalf of the country and its future. He further suggested that the new agreement will require Parliament to change its mode of operations in this regard, if proper foundations for growth are to be laid.
"In expectation of this, it would probably be appropriate for Parliament to review the role of Parliament’s Tax Committee so that it can consider the mid-year report of the PAAC before the ensuing fiscal year and make recommendations in relation to revenue raising measures,” he said.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter