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Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Dr. Omar Davies, has commended the Government’s decision to table a copy of the Public Sector Consolidated Estimates of Expenditure, for the first time.
“This being the first time the total treatment of the State financial activities is being attempted, we were in a sense ‘feeling our way’ in dealing with the matter at Standing Finance Committee,” Dr. Davies said.
He added, however, that how it is approached in the future will be of great significance, in terms of seeking to bring about improved governance practices in public bodies.
The Opposition Spokesman, who was speaking during his contribution to the 2010/11 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives Tuesday (April 13), noted that given that Parliament is being asked to “approve” the budgets, Parliament must seek to formally define the role of Parliamentarians in assessing the entities during Standing Finance Committee meetings.
He also recommended that Ministers and Ministers of State become familiar with what is being proposed by public bodies, under the aegis of their Ministries.
“For all future assessments at Standing Finance Committee, the Ministers must expect to be grilled on the activities of the public bodies under their jurisdictions, to as great an extent as they are interrogated about Central Government Departments within their ministries,” Dr. Davies said.
A copy of the Public Sector Consolidated Estimates of Expenditure, which consolidates Central Government and public bodies’ budgets, has been tabled in Parliament by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, in keeping with the recently approved amendments to the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAAA) and the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Framework for Jamaica.