Chastanet: Proposed Amendments to Public Financial Management Law Undermine Public Trust and Good Governance

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Press release:- Government proposed amendments to the Public Finance Management Act will set Saint Lucia back in public expenditure management.

Prior to Tuesday’s sitting of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, the Honorable Allen
Chastanet, recalled that the Public Finance Bill was passed in November 2020 by
the United Labor Administration and sets out the rules, systems and processes for
the mobilization of public funds, the allocation of public funds, the facilitation of
public expenditures, the appropriate accounting and reporting of these expenditures and
the audit of the results at the end of the cycle.

“This law is part of a well-functioning government to ensure that funds are managed in
in a planned, recorded and reported manner in an effective and efficient manner”,
noted Chastanet.

“Yet we hear that the SLP administration intends to make several changes to this law that will give more power to the Minister of Finance, less control over government spending and even less accountability.
Among the amendments are the deadline for presenting the budget, the number of
supplementary budgets that can be presented in one year and the reallocation of
capital expenditure without control.

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Chastanet explained that Saint Lucia has been praised by international bodies for its moves towards adopting fiscal rules and formulating sound fiscal policy including financial transparency, planning, reporting and accountability.

“The changes made by the current administration are setting us back and weakening public trust
and good governance. When we passed this law, it replaced the often problematic rule
financial (administrative) and was part of a wider reform aimed at strengthening
financial management,” Chastanet noted.

“We have worked hard to ensure that Saint Lucia is in line with international best practice in public finance management and that is now under threat.”

The former prime minister also noted that despite what he has said in the past, the SLP
The administration has indicated its intention to push the bills through all their stages
In one time.

“Once again, the hypocrisy of this current administration is unabashedly blatant,”
Chastenet said.

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