Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna announces the approval of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. He explains that this Act represents a milestone for the Maltese government, as it binds this and all future government to a greater degree of transparency and accountability in public finance.
Prof. Scicluna explains that the only existing checks and balances for good fiscal governance are institutions and processes such as the Annual Budget, which includes a record of economic and fiscal amendments, and a projection for the following year.
Additionally, Prof. Scicluna explains that the Public Accounts Committee and the General Auditor also report any misuse of taxpayer’s funds.
He however notes that all these entities could at most report on past matters, and underlines that the Fiscal Responsibility Act will be able to take a forward-looking approach.
It will do this by establishing various requirements on the government, such as the need to present a three-year rolling fiscal strategy to ensure that there is serious control over the government’s expenditure. This medium term plan will be signed annually by both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, and tabled in Parliament.
Furthermore, a Draft Budget will be prepared and presented in October, which will clearly show any amendments, and show how much the government can spend based on the projected revenue, and the amount of deficit.
Prof. Scicluna explains that this has to be accountable also with the Fiscal Council. Any disagreements or changes will have to be explained. A report will be published yearly and half-yearly to ensure transparency and accountability each month and at each moment.
– 25th July 2014