Gov't to table new Micro Credit Bill today

Gov't to table new Micro Credit Bill today

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, is expected to table the long overdue new version of the Micro Credit Act, when the House of Representatives resumes this afternoon.

The proposals for legislative control of the micro financing sector dates back to 2012, preceding the tabling of the first Bill, the Micro Credit Act 2013. The Bill, which seeks to impose new regulations on micro finance institutions (MFIs), has straddled three consecutive administrations as both the 2013 and 2019 versions were eventually withdrawn.

The 2019 version was also severely criticised by the sector, leading to lengthy discussions between the finance minister and the stakeholders, which has resulting in the 2020 version of the Bill being readied to be tabled today.

Dr Clarke is also expected to open the debate on the Independent Fiscal Commission (IFC) Act, which is aimed at institutionalising fiscal transparency and strengthening the country’s fiscal responsibility framework, by way of the IFC, which will absorb the work of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC).

The minister says the Commission will become “the guardian and interpreter of Jamaica’s fiscal rules” and will monitor compliance with those rules and report on the fiscal outcomes.

Also on the agenda for today’s meeting of the House are: Statements from the Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, and the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, on the resumption of schools and the latest update on the COVID-19 situation, respectively; referral of the Customs Act and the Cybercrime Act to Joint Select Committees (JSC); and responses from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to several questions raised last year by Opposition MP Julian Robinson.

Parliament had been on its Christmas break since mid-December.

Balford Henry

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