UK plans to keep tight control on TCI finances
(CNS): A draft law in the Turks and Caicos Islands will see the British government retaining a tight grip on the country’s financial situation for several more years, even after it returns to an elected government. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) bill will ensure that post remains a UK appointed position, which officials said would protect the Ministry of Finance against any "intentional or unintentional Ministerial interference” that could undermine the territory's public finances. Meanwhile, the governor has also announced that an increase in revenues for this financial year of around 20% coupled with a cut in public spending has led to a budget surplus for the TCI government of around $4 million.
Given the financial problems of the islands as well as the allegations of corruption and mismanagement of public funds, even when the UK returns the territory back to a democratically elected government, it will be picking the person who will guard the public purse strings.
The continuation of a UK appointed CFO after the election is an essential condition of the $260m loan guarantee. “The agreement allows for the CFO to be retained for as long as any UK loan guarantee is in force, currently up to 2016, and for the UK to nominate the person who will hold the office of CFO," TCI officials stated.
In December 2010 FCO ministers Henry Bellingham and Alan Duncan said the UK Government had stepped in to prevent the TCI’s finances from collapsing and in return it intended to retain sufficient control over public finances following elections in order to ensure that TCI emerges from its financial crisis and that the temporary financial UK support was no longer needed.
The bill sets out the authority and powers of the CFO and has been prepared to ensure that it not only meets the requirements of the UK Government, but also reflects the needs of the TCI, officials said. The law will also clarify the division of responsibilities between the governor, minister, and the CFO.
“The draft Chief Financial Officer Bill will be of interest to everyone,” Governor Ric Todd stated. “UK Ministers have seen the Bill and are broadly content with the powers it sets out for the CFO. The provisions of the Bill are wide-ranging and necessary to continue to reinforce financial control standards after elections, and to ensure TCIG reduces its debt and builds a track record of surpluses that should allow access to commercial finance by the time the loan guarantee expires in 2016.”
He said it empowers the CFO to work with an elected government to safeguard public finances, and although the local TCI Advisory Council and Consultative Forum could provide comments, requests to dilute the intent of the bill were unlikely to be accepted.
Todd also said that the draft Budget for 2013 projected a total revenue of around $200m and a return to a fiscal surplus, which was moving TCI to a position where UK financial support would no longer be required.
Pointing to the achievements of the current government, Todd said that when the interim administration took over in 2009 the TCIG spending was over $50m more than its income, and it owed around $75m in unpaid bills. “Given the global financial challenges that existed then and now, to turnaround this situation where we are now predicting a surplus of $4m this financial year, after funding the capital programme and bond repayments, is a considerable achievement,” he said as he indicated that there would likely be money for local infrastructure improvements at schools and on the roads.
Officials said the surplus was achieved by a combination of increasing revenues, reducing costs and improving how government business is done in the TCI. The TCIG voluntary severance scheme has also created “a civil service of a size more appropriate to a country of our size,” officials added. The government also said investor confidence was returning as new legislation would ensure “the excesses and mismanagement of the past” were not repeated.
- WTS: BB Q10...BB Z10 & Samsung Galaxy S4 BBM Chat: 23A0C377
- Work permit as Online Investor (Personal Investor)
- House for sale - Mt Pleasant WB
- \'09 Honda Fit 4sale
- New Blackberry Q10 Gold Plated and Gold Porsche Design (24 HRS BBM Chat:295941E1)
- Town - Extra Large Bedroom with XL Walk-in Closet
- ONE BEDROOM SHARING $325.00
- CINSA RElays
- Retirement plan
- Make Money Now - Easy as ever
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- Ozzie, I woted for you and if
1 hour 57 min ago
- Would Mr Hampson, let alone
2 hours 2 min ago
- Please provide names and
2 hours 3 min ago
- You hit the nail on the head!
2 hours 4 min ago
- Do you thing she will look
2 hours 5 min ago
- Take what?
2 hours 6 min ago
- True enough, but also s.14(4)
2 hours 16 min ago
2 hours 22 min ago
- Most of the things you
2 hours 23 min ago
- Don't understand your
2 hours 26 min ago