by Larry Smith
Bahamians celebrated Greek Fest this past weekend while the new Greek government was feverishly putting together a list of structural reforms it will pursue. Greece is under heavy pressure from the European Union to reform its government in return for financial aid to keep its economy afloat. Here’s a partial list of the Greek reforms—they are equally vital for the Bahamas:
1. Create a new culture of tax compliance to ensure that all sections of society, and especially the well-off, contribute fairly to the financing of public policies.
2. Improve tax collection, broaden the definition of tax fraud and fight evasion.
3. Provide a higher degree of financial and budgetary accountability.
4. Enhance the openness and transparency of tax and customs administration.
5. Strengthen the independence of the public revenues agency while guaranteeing full accountability and transparency of its operations.
6. Review and control spending in every area of government.
7. Review non-wage benefits expenditure across the public sector and reform the public sector wage gird.
8. Modernise the pension system by establishing a closer link between pension contributions and income, and by streamlining benefits.
9. Turn the fight against corruption into a national priority.
10. Reduce the number of Ministries (from 16 to 10), and the number of ‘special advisors’ in general government.
11. Establish a transparent, electronic, real time institutional framework for public tenders/procurement.