In discussing the new Public Financial Management Act, Solomon Islands Minister for Finance and Treasury, the Hon. Rick Hou said that a key feature contained in the Act is the new fiscal responsibility provisions.
He explained that the inclusion of the fiscal responsibility provisions arose as a result of undertakings made with the International Monetary Fund in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. He said that the fiscal responsibility provisions will involve the development and publication of new fiscal documents that will help inform the Parliament and the general public about the state of public finances.
These new products will greatly increase the Government’s openness and transparency about the Government’s fiscal position.
The provisions within the Act will result in the publication of the following documents throughout the year that will help bring Solomon Islands into line with the best fiscal international practice:
-At least 5 months before the start of the financial year, the Government’s Budget Strategy document.
-At least 3 months before the start of the financial year, the Government’s medium term fiscal policy strategy and its debt management strategy.
-At least 3 months before the start of the financial year, the Government’s medium term development plan.
-The Act also outlines some of the key contents to be contained within the annual budget.
-The Final Budget Outcome document for the previous financial year within 4 months after the end of the year.
-No later than 7 months into the financial year, a mid-year budget review covering the first half of the year.
The Minister said that whilst the development and publication of these documents would represent an onerous work load for his Ministry, he was
aware that the content of these documents have been gradually made part of annual budget documentation in recent years.
This will continue to be built upon over time to fully meet the requirements of the new Act. Minister Hou said that from 2014, the Government will be greatly increasing available budgetary information and fiscal transparency, so that the general public have a greater understanding what the budget is all about.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit