Tuesday, 20 November 2018

MOF launches budget performance reporting

 

OFFICIAL STATEMENT
 
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest Ministry of Finance sets new standard of transparency with first quarterly report on budget performanc e. Positive trends emerge as deficit position improves, but Ministry is cautioning that government must remain focused as much work remains to be done.

Performance trends are certainly moving in the right direction when we compare budget performance to the same quarter last fiscal year. Naturally, we are happy to see that revenue is up; the deficit is down by more than 50 percent year on year, and growth in overall expenditure was less than 1 per cent. But, we ought not to read too much into the numbers at this point because it is the first quarter there is still a lot of hard work to do. 

Nonetheless we are cautiously optimistic that the government is on track to meet its fiscal targets which called for a substantial reduction in our annual deficit. We must contain expenditure growth, improve the revenue yield and continue smart capital investments with scarce public funds. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) will stay focused on this critical mandate.
 
At this point, we wish to acknowledge a historic first in The Bahamas, which represents a new and unprecedented standard of transparency in public finances: The in-year quarterly budget performance reporting on the central government’s revenue, expenditure and financing operations allows the Bahamian people to understand and track the financial health of the country. It aligns with global fiscal disclosure standards and best practices.
 
Performance reporting is not about popping champagne when we are happy with our progress and burying the numbers when we are not. Performance reporting is about full disclosure. It is about upending the culture of closed government and promoting transparency instead.
 
In the Ministry of Finance, we are proactively working to set a new model for good governance: From the ground up, we are building a culture of openness, access to information and engagement, which is what the public demands and expects. We all know that change takes time, especially within large bureaucracies, but each small step we take in the right direction is cause for encouragement. The launch of quarterly performance reporting is certainly a step in the right direction. The government has a big reform agenda and this is another step forward in fulfilling same.
 
The Ministry is committed to publishing a quarterly report on budget performance within four weeks after the end of each quarter. This report will be released online through the Ministry’s website and other distribution channels. The report will include information about the government’s revenue performance, expenditure developments, debt activity and policy initiatives for enhanced public financial management.
 

To accompany the report, the Ministry is also producing a user-friendly fiscal “performance snapshot” that summarizes the key developments and trends in the budget. We invite the public to review this, as well as the full report with its supporting notes and other details.

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