St Lucia PM proposes law to deal with ‘extra money’

CASTRIES, St Lucia, August 28, 2008 – St Lucia’s Prime Minister Stephenson King has proposed legislation aimed at managing national funding acquired outside of government’s annual budget. 

The proposed legislation will amend The Finance Administration Act.

“This amendment, which is being proposed to the existing Finance Administration Act, is intended to introduce what previously was used as an instrument of accounting to give authority for the payment of expenditure out of the consolidated fund in anticipation of approval of a supplementary appropriation act,” he told Parliament this week.
In the amendment, the provision of a special warrant will allow the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance to make use of funds that remain after the completion of a project for which the money was primarily obtained. 
Additionally, special warrants will serve as an accountability mechanism for funds that are not included within the budget.
“The special warrant is going to authorise expenditure related to the grant or loan revenues received during a financial year, for which no provisions were made in the annual estimates approved by the House of Assembly. In the case of loans, this provision will not prejudice the need for the Minister for Finance to seek the prior approval of parliament to borrow as required under the finance act.  In other words, this will not prevent the Prime Minister or the Minister for Finance from coming to the Parliament,” Prime Minister King said.
He sought to make it clear that the provisions under the amendment assure that government abides by specific procedural guidelines governing how grant and loan funding are to be spent. 

A special select committee comprising three members from each side of the house has been nominated to review the amendment before it is adopted.