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New Bills Before Parliament to Receive Public Feedback

The new bills which were laid in parliament yesterday were read for the first time after which they would be presented to the public for feedback.

The bills which were down for consideration were the Banking (Amendment) Bill, Public Debt Management Bill, Youth Economy Agency Bill, Firearms (Amendment) Bill and Special Prosecutor Bill.

Here is an explanatory note for the Public Debt management Bill:

1. The Bill for consideration is the Public Debt Management Bill (the Bill).

2. The purpose of the Bill is to consolidate and modernize the laws relating to debt management by providing for the administration of public debt management; a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy; Public Debt Sustainability Analysis; Government borrowings, guarantees, on-lending; and to reduce multiple issuers of debt and ensure sound financial policies in relation to the management of public debt.

3. Clauses 1 and 2 of the Bill provide for the short title and commencement and interpretation of the Bill. By virtue of clause 3 of the Bill, the Act binds the Crown.

4. Part I of the Bill (Administration) contains clauses 4 to 18 of the Bill. Clause 4 of the Bill provides for the Debt and Investment Management Unit (the Unit) to administer the Bill and clause 5 of the Bill sets out the functions of the Unit.

5. Clauses 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the Bill provide for the Debt Management Objectives, Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, Borrowing Plan and Public Debt Sustainability Analysis, respectively.

6. Clause 10 of the Bill provides for the audit of the Unit, which includes a financial, compliance and debt performance audit by the Director of Audit.

7. Clause 11 of the Bill gives the Minister responsible for finance (the Minister) the power to appoint the Public Debt Management Advisory Committee (the Committee). Clauses 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Bill provide for the constitution, functions, annual report and meetings of the Committee. By virtue of clause 16 of the Bill, the Committee regulates its procedures.

8. Clauses 17 and 18 of the Bill provide for the powers of the Minister and the delegation of powers given to the Minister. 2 No. [Public Debt Management Act 2022 ].

9. Part II of the Bill (Government Borrowing) contains clauses 19 to 34 of the Bill. Clause 19 of the Bill authorizes the Minister to borrow by loans and Government securities to meet the fiscal requirements of Government and clause 20 of the Bill sets out the terms and conditions applicable for Government borrowing.

10. Clause 21 of the Bill provides for the issue of a certificate while clause 22 of the Bill provides for the issue of a duplicate certificate in a case where a certificate is lost, defaced or destroyed. Clause 23 of the Bill provides for the proceeds of funds borrowed by Government, while clauses 24 and 25 of the Bill provide for effecting payment and repayment.

11. Clause 26 of the Bill allows the Government to tax interest from income from Government securities and clause 27 provides for the establishment and maintenance of a Register of Government Securities.

12. Clause 28 of the Bill authorizes the Minister to borrow treasury bonds and treasury notes in order to meet the fiscal requirements of the Government. Clause 29 of the Bill sets out the conditions for the issue of treasury bonds and treasury notes.

13. Clause 30 of the Bill provides for interest on treasury bonds and treasury notes while clause 31 of the Bill provides for the effect of treasury bonds and treasury notes on the death of a holder.

14. By virtue of clause 32 of the Bill, the Minister may borrow money by treasury bills. Clause 33 of the Bill sets out the conditions for the issue of treasury bills. Clause 34 of the Bill provides for the issuance of treasury bills in an amount and currency as the Minister determines.

15. Part III of the Bill (Government Guarantees) contains clauses 35 to 47 of the Bill. Clause 35 of the Bill sets out particular definitions for terms used under Part III of the Bill. Clause 36 of the Bill provides for the application for a Government guarantee. Clause 37 of the Bill provides for the evaluation of an application for a Government guarantee.

16. By virtue of clause 38 of the Bill, the Unit provides a recommendation for the grant or refusal of an application for a Government Guarantee. Under clauses 39 and 41 of the Bill, the Minister provides a notice for the approval or refusal of an application for a Government guarantee. 3 No. [ Public Debt Management Act  2022 ].

17. By virtue of clause 40 of the Bill, a Government guarantee is subject to an affirmative resolution in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act, No. 14 of 2020.

18. Clauses 42 and 43 of the Bill provide for the execution of a Government guarantee and the payment of fees and other expenses relating to the Government guarantee. Clauses 44 and 45 of the Bill provide for default of a borrower on a Government guarantee and the recovery of money paid by the Government on behalf of the borrower. Clause 46 of the Bill provides for the establishment and maintenance of a Register of Government Guarantees. Clause 47 of the Bill provides for the reporting of Government guarantees and non-guaranteed debt.

19. Part IV of the Bill (Government On-Lending) contains clauses 48 to 58 of the Bill. By virtue of clause 48 of the Bill, the Minister is required to establish, by an affirmative resolution of Parliament, a maximum amount for on-lending by Government within a financial year. Clause 49 of the Bill provides for an application for Government on-lending while clause 50 provides for the evaluation of an application for Government on-lending.

20. Clauses 51, 52, 53 and 54 of the Bill provide for the recommendation of the Unit, a notice of refusal of an application for Government on-lending, the grant of Government on-lending and a notice of approval of an application for Government on-lending to a statutory body.

21. Clause 55 of the Bill provides for the execution of Government on-lending while clauses 56, 57 and 58 of the Bill provide for the payment of interest, fees for Government on-lending and recovery of money paid by the Government on behalf of the borrower.

22. Part V of the Bill (Miscellaneous) contains clauses 59 to 66 of the Bill. Clause 59 of the Bill requires the Minister to report annually to Parliament on public debt management activities. Clause 60 of the Bill provides for unauthorized borrowing, guarantees and on-lending. Clauses 61 and 62 of the Bill provide for confidentiality of information and exemption from stamp duty.

23. Clauses 63, 64, 65 and 66 of the Bill contain provisions for Regulations, repeal, transitional and savings.

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