Doc­u­ment Out­lines Mas­sive Cuts in Gov­ern­ment Spend­ing

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - ---Bar­ba­dos To­day

Sev­eral state-owned en­ti­ties will be re­struc­tured or shut down as part of phases 2 and 3 of the Bar­ba­dos Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery and Trans­for­ma­tion (BERT) plan, start­ing the next fis­cal year. Some of the first ca­su­al­ties, iden­ti­fied in a doc­u­ment called Pro­posed Pub­lic Sec­tor Ex­pen­di­ture Re­duc­tion Pro­gramme, are the Na­tional Ini­tia­tive for Ser­vice Ex­cel­lence (NISE), the Depart­ment of Con­stituency Em­pow­er­ment and the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Coun­cil. NISE and the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Coun­cil will be re­placed with a “small unit formed in the Di­vi­sions of Eco­nomic Af­fairs and In­vest­ment to deal with com­pet­i­tive­ness.” The Depart­ment of Con­stituency Em­pow­er­ment will be dis­banded with no in­di­ca­tion of an al­ter­na­tive unit.

The doc­u­ment also re­vealed that ma­jor cuts are com­ing to sev­eral other Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

For in­stance, the Cul­tural In­dus­tries De­vel­op­ment Author­ity and Pan African Com­mis­sion will be re­ab­sorbed into the Na­tional Cul­tural Foun­da­tion (NCF) be­fore the end of the fis­cal year, while the Bar­ba­dos Con­fer­ence Ser­vices Lim­ited, which op­er­ates the Lloyd Ersk­ine San­di­ford Cen­tre, is cur­rently un­der­go­ing a ra­tio­nal­iza­tion pro­gramme through the lease of the of­fice build­ing to Ross Univer­sity. The Bar­ba­dos De­fence Force's (BDF) Sports Pro­gramme is con­tin­u­ing as is, but with no funds from Gov­ern­ment.

The doc­u­ment also pro­posed to send home work­ers from the Gov­ern­ment's Pub­lic Af­fairs Depart­ment which com­prises the Caribbean Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (CBC), the Gov­ern­ment Print­ing Depart­ment and the Bar­ba­dos Gov­ern­ment In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice (BGIS) by the end of Oc­to­ber. CBC's Multi-Choice Tele­vi­sion (MCTV) will re­main, but is be­ing re­struc­tured.

The Mia Mot­t­ley-led ad­min­is­tra­tion also in­tends to di­vest the Caves of Bar­ba­dos as a busi­ness and lease the caves, a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion, to the pri­vate sec­tor.

Kens­ing­ton Oval Man­age­ment Inc (KOMI), the com­pany which op­er­ates the mecca of cricket, will be man­aged through a joint ven­ture be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the Bar­ba­dos Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, while Gym­na­sium Lim­ited, the en­tity that runs the Wildey Gym­na­sium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Com­plex, is be­ing in­cor­po­rated into the Na­tional Sports Coun­cil (NSC).

The Gov­ern­ment is also tar­get­ing its Reg­istries to be op­er­ated un­der a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship ar­range­ment. The doc­u­ment noted though that Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials must first meet with staff of the Supreme Court Registry, the Land Registry and the Cor­po­rate Af­fairs and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice be­fore the pro­posed plan could be im­ple­mented.

In the third phase of the pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing cuts plan, the Bar­ba­dos Wa­ter Author­ity (BWA) and the Trans­port Board will be fully re­struc­tured in four phases. Re­gard­ing he BWA, the first phase is ex­pected to re­sult in lay­offs and will be com­pleted by Novem­ber 15, the sec­ond phase by March 31, the third by De­cem­ber 2019 and the fi­nal by June 2020.

Work­ers at the Trans­port Board will be sent home dur­ing the same time pe­riod as the BWA.

The Na­tional Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (NHC), the Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, the Grant­ley Adams In­ter­na­tional Air­port (GAIA) and Gov­ern­ment's agri­cul­tural agen­cies will also be im­pacted by the spend­ing cuts.

A ra­tio­nal­iza­tion study is to be con­ducted by the Of­fice of Pub­lic Sec­tor Re­form and MCS and its rec­om­men­da­tions will be im­ple­mented with re­gards to the NHC, UDC and RDC. Phase 1 is to be done by March 31, 2019 and phase 2 by June, 2020.

The air­port is to have a new struc­ture by Septem­ber 30, 2019, through a pri­vate-pub­lic part­ner­ship in con­junc­tion with the In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cen­tre.

The doc­u­ment also item­izes a $2 mil­lion ef­fi­ciency ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme of the Bar­ba­dos Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment and Mar­ket­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (BADMC), a $10 mil­lion – $12 mil­lion ra­tio­nal­iza­tion of the Bar­ba­dos Agri­cul­tural Cor­po­ra­tion (BAMC) and the clo­sure of the Bar­ba­dos Cane In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion (BCIC).

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