ORG in The News

Govt Admits To 50% Customs Leakages

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

(July 18, 2018) NASSAU, Bahamas - The government has admitted to losing around 50 percent of due Customs revenues from inefficiencies in a system it is working feverishly to reform by eliminating manual processes.

The confession is contained in the government's own just-published review of The Bahamas' progress in meeting the United Nations' (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, with the report's release timed to coincide with Dr Hubert Minnis's visit to the New York-based body today.

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Fiscal Responsibility Bill to go before Cabinet tomorrow

Eyewitness News

The government hopes to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Bill soon, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

The piece of legislation was announced in the 2018/2019 Budget Communication and was engineered to keep the government accountable with public finances.

Turnquest’s announcement was in response to the recent call by Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) for the bill to be passed before Parliament’s summer recesses

 

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ORG lobbying govt. to expand think tank on economic diversification

By Theo Sealy

Eyewitness News

(July 16,2018) NASSAU,BAHAMAS- A local civic organization is agitating for the government to seriously expand its think-tank to generate new ideas on how to expand the country’s economy.

Matthew Aubry, executive director of the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) pointed to a number of sectors that government can seek to bolster economic bounty.

“Whether we look at tech, or agriculture or boutique tourism I think its something we need to consider because at this stage we are running out of time to make that move to ensure that our economy continues to grow,” Aubry golf Eyewitness News.

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ORG wants swift action on FRB

Chester Robart

(July 12,2018) NASSAU,BAHAMAS -The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) wants to see the Fiscal Responsibility Bill tabled and debated before government goes on its usual summer hiatus.

ORG said in a press release issued yesterday that government must treat the bill the same way it treated the implementation of the 4.5 percent increase in value-added tax and move the highly touted bill through Parliament as quickly as possible.

“The implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill should be treated with at least the same level of urgency as the short-notice imposition of the VAT increase,” said ORG.

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DPM targets 'next week' on fiscal bill

By NEIL HARTNELL

and NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporters

(July 12,2018) NASSAU,BAHAMAS- The deputy prime minister yesterday said he aims to "lay and debate" the Fiscal Responsibility Bill in Parliament next week, conceding that it is critical to the government's "credibility".

KP Turnquest told Tribune Business: "I am hoping to have it approved, the revised version, by Cabinet next week, and I'm hoping we can have it laid and debated next week. If not, then it will certainly be done before or immediately after the break for summer. I'm hoping to get it done by next week."

He was responding to calls by the Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG), the civil society group, for the government to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Bill before Parliament takes its summer break.

 

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ORG: Table revised Fiscal Responsibility Bill before Summer Recess

By Organization for Responsible Governance


(Jul 10, 2018)
NASSAU, New Providence – “The implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill should be treated with at least the same level of urgency as the short-notice imposition of the VAT increase.” These are the sentiments of The Organization for Responsible Governance, which is pushing for the drafted Fiscal Responsibility Bill (FRB) to be tabled and debated ahead of the customary parliamentary summer recess. 

Citing the Minister of Finance’s original target of having the legislation in place ahead of this budget cycle the Organization urged the Government to move swiftly in having the legislation passed. 

“Last year, Minister Turnquest committed to implementing ‘fiscal rules’ ahead of the 2018-2019 Budget Cycle to address issues of expenditure and financial management, and to bridge the trust-gap between the people and their government,” said Matt Aubry, ORG’s Executive Director.  “We applaud that a Fiscal Responsibility Bill was introduced in March of this year and that time was allotted for review and feedback from the private sector, civil society, and the people. However, in keeping with the spirit of the Minister’s intentions to usher in a new era of fiscal discipline and accountability with the new budget, we hope to see the revised legislation tabled and debated in The House of Assembly in the coming weeks.”

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Fiscal Responsibility Needs 'More Teeth For Accountability Culture'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

(July 6,2018) NASSAU,BAHAMAS -A governance reformer yesterday renewed calls for the Fiscal Responsibility Bill to be given "more teeth until we get a culture of accountability" in the public service.

Robert Myers, the Organisation for Responsible Governance's (ORG) principal, told Tribune Business that the "only question I have" on the draft legislation was whether its provisions were sufficiently strong enough to properly hold ministers and civil servants to account for fiscal irresponsibility.

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Dpm: Responsibility Bill Will Bridge 'Trust Deficit'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

(June 27,2018) NASSAU,BAHAMAS -The deputy prime minister yesterday admitted there is a "trust deficit" between the government and Bahamian people that he hopes to close with the Fiscal Responsibility Bill's passage.

KP Turnquest told Tribune Business that poor fiscal management, broken promises and a lack of transparency and accountability by previous governments had created a divide that the proposed legislation will help bridge when it becomes law "as soon as possible".

He revealed that consultation on the draft bill will close this week, amid hopes it can be brought to cabinet next week and then tabled in Parliament "at the earliest opportunity".

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Like White On Rice' For Fiscal Responsibility Bill

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The government was yesterday urged to be all over the Fiscal Responsibility Bill "like white on rice", as it will give Bahamians confidence their VAT sacrifice is not in vain.

Robert Myers, the Organisation for Responsible Governance's (ORG) principal, told Tribune Business it was "absolutely critical" that the government now turn its focus to the bill in the budget's aftermath, as its passage would introduce checks to prevent misuse of the targeted $400m VAT revenue windfall.

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Contributory Civil Service Pensions 'Good First Step'

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE government's decision to make civil service pensions "contributory" for new hires was yesterday branded "a good step", although it will do little to address its unfunded multi-billion dollar liabilities.

Robert Myers, the Organisation for Responsible Governance's (ORG) principal, told Tribune Business: "It's a good step, but the 50,000 pound gorilla is the existing pension liabilities. That has to be addressed. The new hires aren't going to affect the big numbers. That contingent liability is somewhere around $2bn and that has to be addressed.

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