The 2021 Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (“Pre-Election Report”) was generally compliant with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (“FRA”) except for the following areas:
These areas of deficiency are pivotal to compiling an accurate accounts payable position.
The Public Debt Management Act, 2021 (“the PDMA), which was enacted in March 2021 and came into force on July 1, 2021, sets out the framework for effective debt management in The Bahamas. The PDMA requires the formulation and execution of a medium-term debt management strategy, having due consideration to the macroeconomic and financial market conditions, the availability of financing from various creditors, and vulnerabilities that could impact future borrowing requirements and debt service costs.
The Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy is a plan aimed at achieving the desired debt portfolio consistent with the debt management objectives. It guides the Government’s borrowing decisions to fund its overall f iscal deficit, within the context of its cost and risk objectives.
The Debt Management Office (the “DMO”) of the Ministry of Finance is mandated under Section 61 of the Public Debt Management Act, 2021 (the “Act”)1, to prepare and publish public debt statistical bulletins (“PDSB”), no later than thirty calendar days after the end of each quarter of the fiscal year. In keeping with this mandate, the September 2021 PDSB represents the first centralized collection of and dedicated publication on public debt statistics in The Bahamas by the DMO.
Dissemination of timely, consistent, comprehensive, reliable and internationally comparable public debt statistics represents a key element of the Government’s commitment to promote accountability and transparency in debt management activities. It also contributes to informed decision making of domestic policy makers for sustainable macroeconomic growth, and is an invaluable source of information for international organizations, investors and other stakeholders who have an interest in the management of public debt in The Bahamas.
The Ministry of Finance published its first Annual Borrowing Plan (ABP) in keeping with new guidelines set by the Public Debt Management Act, 2021, passed by Parliament in March. The new legislation puts teeth behind the government’s commitment to fiscal accountability, and to increasing transparency and borrowing predictability in debt operations.
“Since the new law took effect on July 1, we set up the new Debt Management Office (DMO), which now has overall responsibility for the management of the government’s debt. We also published the first ABP, which is a key component of the government’s new debt management system,” said Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Finance.