Bill tabled to streamline budget process of Constitutional agencies

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Please see below statement from the Ministry of Finance:

An Amendment to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) to ensure further streamlining of the budget process in relation to Constitutional Agencies was today tabled in the National Assembly by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.

The Bill seeks to amend the FMAA Act Chapter 73:02 for the purpose of ‘prescribing the manner in which budgets are approved and withdrawals are made from the Consolidated Fund in respect of Constitutional Agencies’. Additionally, the amendment aims to ensure accountability and sets out the practice and procedure to which these Constitutional Agencies must conform in the management of their subventions for the efficient discharge of their functions.

The amendments are necessary as they serve to streamline the Budget process particularly in relation to constitutional agencies while simultaneously ensuring the preservation of the independence of the agencies.

The Bill intends to include amendments such as an amendment to section 15 of the FMAA to require that an annual budget be proposed to include a motion in compliance with articles 218 and 222 A of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, another amendment seeks to amend section 40 e of the Audit Act to provide for the presentation of the Audit Office Budget.

In January last, Minister Singh had tabled a motion for an amendment to the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act 2021 seeking to amend the FMAA Chapter 73:02 to allow for the correction of a number of anomalies relating to the budget process applicable to constitutional agencies.

Arising from the 2015 amendment to the FMAA by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC), constitutional agencies’ budgets were required to be sent to the National assembly in advance of the submission of the rest of the National Budget. This two-stage process resulted in a fragmented and inefficient process for consideration of the National Budget and denied the Parliament an opportunity to view and consider the budget in a comprehensive manner.

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