NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Opposition Finance spokesman Kwasi Thompson yesterday expressed disappointment in the proposed changes to the Public Procurement Act, the Public Financial Management Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act, arguing that many of the amendments were ‘regressive”.
“We are extremely disappointed with the proposed changes to the Public Procurement Act, the Public Financial Management Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act. Many of the changes are regressive and do not move our country forward. In fact, the amendments to the Financial Management Act completely decimate the previous standards that the Act provided for.
Thompson added: “The former administration made every effort to consult widely on the Bills. We benchmarked those Bills with other jurisdictions, got input from government officials and consulted with international agencies. We also went out to professionals in our country to provide them with an opportunity to give their input.”
“I am extremely disappointed that the government has decided to make significant changes particularly to the Public Finance Management Act without consulting The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), The Bahamas Bar Association, the Chamber of Commerce or the Fiscal Responsibility Council,” said Thompson during his contribution to the debate on the Public Finance Management and Public Procurement Bills.
Thompson argued that the Opposition could not support the changes without more compelling reasons being made for them. According to the East Grand Bahama MP, the new Public Financial Management Act removes the ability of the Accountant General now referred to as the Treasurer to compel public servants to give evidence under oath.
Thompson also noted that the Fiscal Strategy Report has now been made a part of the budget and argued that the report was intended to guide the budget process.