Institutional and Governance Review

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Jamaica : Parliamentary Oversight of Public Finances--An Institutional Review

2013-06-10, World Bank

Sound legislative oversight of public finances is crucial to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of public spending. All national governments, and particularly those that are accountable to their citizens through free elections and the voice of civil society, are concerned with the efficiency and efficacy of public finances. More broadly, well-functioning parliaments promote good governance; enhance transparency and accountability, including for public expenditures and their results; widen public discourse on national priorities and options; and build better partnerships between officials and representatives and their electorate. In all this, those among the citizenry with the least have the most to gain. This report responds to a request from the Government of Jamaica to review the structure and capacity of the Parliament of Jamaica to undertake its constitutional role with respect to oversight of the nation's public finances. Jamaica's Parliament is the country's supreme legislative body, consisting of an elected House of Representatives and an appointed Senate (Upper House), as well as the Queen or her representative, as the ceremonial head, and the Governor General. The Government of Jamaica has amended various legislations to adopt a Fiscal Responsibility Framework (FRF). The FRF includes specific fiscal targets as well as provisions to include the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and public service control over expenditures and lending.