On Wednesday St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh, during his contribution, sought to justify the ill conceived PNM version of a Revenue Authority by stressing that “Singapore has a Revenue Authority.”
In typical PNM fashion, they highlight minor similarities which serve their narrow interest, totally ignoring key aspects of Singapore’s Revenue Authority Act which ensure a more transparent, accountable and arms length relationship with the Central Government.
For example, Singapore’s Inland Revenue Authority Act (1992) (amended in 2018) states unequivocally: “There must be a CEO of the Authority whose appointment, removal, discipline and promotion must be in accordance with the Public Sector (Governance) Act 2018.”
Section 9 (1) (3) of the same Act states that “The Authority may, subject to the Public Service (Governance) Act 2018, appoint and employ on such terms and conditions as it may determine such other officers, employees, consultants and agents as may be necessary….”.
Under Sections (15) and (16) of Singapore’s Public Sector (Governance) Act 2018, a CEO of the Authority can only be appointed or removed “with the concurrence of the Public Service Commission”.
By contrast, in the PNM’s half baked Revenue Authority, the Director General, Deputy Director General and Board, are all appointed by the Minister of Finance – a political appointee.
Section 7 (2) of the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority Bill, 2018 states that the nine members of the Board of Management of the Revenue Authority shall be appointed by the Minister.
Furthermore, in respect of the appointment of the Director General and the Deputy Director General, Section 13.(1) states “The Minister by Notification subject to affirmative resolution of Parliament, shall appoint the Director General and such number of Deputy Director Generals of the Authority.”
What a joke. In our parliament the Executive always holds the majority and, 90% of the time, has its way.
If this inept and intellectually challenged PNM administration wishes to copy Singapore, which goes to extreme lengths to respect autonomy, accountability, transparency and performance, it ought to follow Singapore’s approach comprehensively and not just cherry pick minor aspects, which advance the myopic cause of a creeping dictatorship.
Consistently Introducing not well thought out and ill conceived Bills, which lack necessary checks and balances to ensure that citizen rights are not infringed upon, will neither bring us up to first world status nor enhance rigid and measurable performance standards which exist in Singapore.