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Fiscal rules legislation passed

Published:Wednesday | March 19, 2014 | 8:21 AM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The House of Representatives has passed fiscal rules legislation despite a suggestion from the Opposition spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, that the government request more time from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).




He made the suggestion as the parliament debated amendments to the Fiscal Administration Audit Act and the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act yesterday.



Opening debate on the amendments to the laws, finance minister Dr Peter Phillips noted that it was a requirement of the IMF that fiscal rules be enacted by the end of this month.



However, Shaw said some aspects of the bill were in need of serious review and that there is still a lack of public awareness of the implications of the new rules.



He also said he felt the haste to promulgate the rules could prove detrimental for the country.



A fiscal rule puts quantitative limits on how much the government can spend, how much it can borrow and the size of the deficit it can run.



However, opposition Member of Parliament Karl Samuda has raised concern that the bills do not propose sanctions for breaking the fiscal rules and does not specify who is to be sanctioned.



Responding to the concerns, Phillips said sanctions would be set out in accompanying regulations which will be tabled early in the next fiscal year.



Phillips also acknowledged that more time to pass the legislation would have been desirable.



However, he said there would be opportunities to make adjustments later.



Both Acts were passed with several amendments.



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