The Financial Administration and Audit (Amendment) Act, 2023 has been approved. It was done on Tuesday (March 28) by members of the House of Representatives.
The legislation, which was piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, was passed with one amendment.
The Act seeks to repeal section 48C (1c), which forms part of the fiscal responsibility framework that was first enacted through amendments to the FAA Act in 2010, and thereafter.
This, with the objective of creating binding rules aimed at enhancing fiscal discipline and ensuring improvements in public financial management.
“We are tabling this two-clause amendment to the FAA (Financial Administration Audit) Act out of the desire, need and intention to be responsible and to be transparent [in ensuring] that the rules that we have on the books and the rules that we have in our laws are serious and should be observed,” Dr. Clarke stated.
He indicated that with the change in the compensation structure, such that expenditure under programmes is now under wages, “it means that this particular rule with this particular number is no longer a reliable or applicable rule, and we must do away with it”.
“We reserve on coming back with another number and another date that we can agree and form a consensus with stakeholders on what ought to be achieved. But… that’s within the context of realising that the fiscal target is the primary one,” he added.
He said with the Bill’s passage, the Government “does not intend to return to the days of elevated spending; that would be completely self-defeating… even as we repeal this Bill”.
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to achieving fiscal targets, and emphasised “the importance that we attach to meeting our fiscal targets.”
“Jamaica, having met those fiscal targets for nine years in a row, and meeting those fiscal targets, is sufficient for us to arrive at our debt objectives,” Dr. Clarke added.
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