KAMLOOPS, BC, March 28, 2012 /CNW/ - The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) responded today to the release of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development's "A Report to Parliament on the Legislative Review of the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act".
"Clearly, the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act has made a difference. It continues to help First Nations build their economies, improve investor relations, and achieve a measure of self-sufficiency," stated FNTC Chief Commissioner C.T. (Manny) Jules who was a driving force behind the legislation. "We look forward to working collaboratively with the Minister in carrying out any legislative improvements stemming from the Report."
Established in March 2005, the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FSMA) is federal legislation which provides participating First Nations access to revenue raising powers, strong financial management systems, and the ability to collectively finance debt through a debenture. The FNTC is one of four federal institutions created by the legislation and is mainly responsible for providing regulatory oversight for First Nation fiscal powers under the Act, and ensuring statutory compliance.
Since 2008, more than 80 First Nations have generated over $99-million in property tax revenue under the Act adding to a total in property taxes collected by First Nations that is nearing $1-billion since the passage of the Kamlooops Amendment in 1988. These revenues are helping communities provide much needed infrastructure and services in order to encourage investment on their lands. In addition to the economic benefits, the FSMA has also increased the level of confidence in First Nation taxation through: clear, consistent, and accessible First Nation laws; mechanisms for greater taxpayer representation; and accredited education programs tailored to strengthen First Nation tax administration.
The FNTC made several recommendations to the Minister's Report, specifically measures to improve administrative efficiencies and enhance First Nation revenue raising powers. The tabling of the Report satisfies the statutory requirements pursuant to Section 146 of the FSMA that the Minister undertakes a review of the provisions and operations of FSMA and its fiscal institutions within seven years and submits a report to each House of Parliament.
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