The Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill was passed in the Upper House of Parliament, coming into effect in January 2017.
This bill is one of a suite of bills, which include the Public Debt Management Bill and the Public Finance Management Bill, both of which aim at bringing fiscal stability to the government’s financial affairs. Leader of Government Business, Senator Simon Stiell, said the government’s intention is to strengthen the monitoring and oversight functions, to ensure that the government and the Ministry of Finance lock in the gains of the Structural Adjustment Programme.
A Fiscal Responsibility Oversight Committee will overlook the Ministry of Finance.
“What is sought is a creation for the strengthening of the oversight committee, that provision is made for in the principal act, for providing greater robustness to it — expanding that committee, expanding the capacity and the realms of that committee — to ensure that it is able to provide that necessary oversight and monitoring,” Stiell said.
Supporting the Fiscal Responsibility Amendment Bill, private sector representative, Senator Chris De Allie said, from a private sector point of view, it is a good formula for accountability.
“Oversight is important, from the point of view that we need to ensure that our politicians — whichever government is in power — stays within the confines of the legislation and that they do what we are supposed to do. The mover of the bill indicated that we can’t lose the gains that we made, after going through a structural adjustment programme and our history is so rich in that happening before and we introduce legislation, so that we could control that. The oversight committee, of course, is to ensure that those gains and the rules that we put are obeyed and set and are followed,” he said.