Cabi­net to get ac­tion plan for pub­lic-sec­tor trans­for­ma­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ed­mond Campbell Se­nior Staff Re­porter ed­mond.campbell@glean­erjm.com

THE LONG-AWAITED trans­for­ma­tion of the pub­lic sec­tor ap­pears to be in its fi­nal strides, with the Gov­ern­ment pledg­ing to sub­mit to Cabi­net, by the end of this month, an ac­tion plan with spe­cific time­lines for im­ple­men­ta­tion.

In a state­ment to Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, Fi­nance and the Pub­lic Ser­vice Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw said the plan would set out time­bound ac­tions to im­prove ef­fi­ciency in the pub­lic sec­tor, through shared cor­po­rate ser­vices and the clo­sure, merger and pri­vati­sa­tion of some State-owned en­ti­ties.

At the same time, the Gov­ern­ment has ap­proved a new or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture for the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral’s De­part­ment. Ac­cord­ing to Shaw, this is part of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts to strengthen pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

He said the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral’s De­part­ment, which leased a sec­tion of the for­mer Oceana Ho­tel in Kingston, would start to oc­cupy the premises on a phased ba­sis be­gin­ning next week. He said a Novem­ber 7 dead­line has been set for the de­part­ment to fully oc­cupy the build­ing.

In a wide-rang­ing pre­sen­ta­tion, Shaw also com­mented on plans by the Gov­ern­ment to in­ject an ad­di­tional US$40 mil­lion into the Ma­jor In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (MIDP), which op­er­ates out of the Na­tional Works Agency. The Gov­ern­ment had ini­tially al­lo­cated some US$61 mil­lion in the bud­get for the pro­gramme.

Shaw said the de­ci­sion by the ad­min­is­tra­tion to in­crease the sum to MIDP this fi­nan­cial year comes against the back­ground of the un­der­spend­ing on cap­i­tal pro­grammes in the cur­rent bud­get by $7 bil­lion. “So in other words, we are not go­ing to stay flat-footed and al­low the cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture sim­ply to re­turn to the Con­sol­i­dated Fund,” he said.

Quizzed by South St An­drew mem­ber of par­lia­ment and for­mer min­is­ter of trans­port, works and hous­ing Dr Omar Davies about a pro­posed time­line for the tabling of the first sup­ple­men­tary es­ti­mates of ex­pen­di­ture which would re­flect the in­creased sum, Shaw said he could not set a date for bring­ing the ad­just­ment in gov­ern­ment spend­ing to Par­lia­ment.

Com­ment­ing on the Na­tional Hous­ing Trust’s (NHT) con­tri­bu­tion of $11 bil­lion to shore up the Gov­ern­ment’s fis­cal pro­gramme, which ends in March 2017, Shaw said this would be the last time that the ad­min­is­tra­tion would raid the trust for fis­cal sup­port. He said go­ing for­ward the Gov­ern­ment would en­sure that the NHT spend its sur­plus on hous­ing so­lu­tions for Ja­maicans.

SHAW

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