We haven’t been told if a review of our financial administration laws is planned, but I believe we need to look at legislating the caliber of information that must be submitted to the Parliament along with Resolutions to borrow sums of money. That way, there would be no argument about what should be brought by any given government – a standard and requirement in law would be set. In order to borrow money, the Minister of Finance must bring a Resolution to Parliament requesting the consent of Parliament to do so. Since Parliament must give the approval, then Parliament should be given all the requisite information to support such a request by the government.
Right now, our governments simply tell us and the Parliament they need to add more borrowing debt to our backs and they do not have to present specific, detailed information and documentation to support and justify their reasoning or their request. Let’s change this for the benefit of the nation and in furtherance of transparent and accountable governance. And as early as the Mid-Year Budget, the new administration should return to the national Budget Heads 26 and 27 – the Debt Heads that were stripped from the Budget by the previous administration back in 2014; so that we can once again see who our loans are taken out with, the amounts borrowed, our level of bond issuance, etc. For the 2018 Budget, consideration should be given to expanding the debt information provided so that Bahamians for the first time, can get a broader, more comprehensive picture of our debt position beyond just a ratio here and percentage there. Enable the Bahamian people to see and know where we truly stand with respect to public debt and the overall national debt.