Public sector rationalization (“transformation” sounds a little softer) is firmly on the 2017 agenda for Prime Minister Andrew Holness. If you may recall, last year’s Three-Year Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported the Jamaican Government’s goal to “re-orient public resource allocation toward infrastructure, social protection, and security-related spending, while transforming the public sector to be more efficient and delivery-focused,” – among others. So here we are. The Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC) has been meeting and is charting a way forward. Here is its statement, issued today:
Kingston, Jamaica – Friday, January 20, 2017:
The Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC) held its first two meetings on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 and January 18th 2017 respectively. The meeting in December primarily dealt with the procedures for monitoring the activities under the Public Sector Transformation, Public Service Reform, Public Bodies and Social Safety Net headings as set out in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies under the Government’s three-year Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF.
The meeting on January 18th reviewed the progress of the Government in implementing the structural benchmarks and other commitments as agreed under the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Polices. The Committee concluded, based on the report submitted, that the programme was on-track to meet the structural benchmarks for the quarter January – March 2017.
The Committee was unanimous in the view that public sector transformation must represent for the people of Jamaica the most prudent and efficient spending of the tax dollar, and that the delivery of public service must be caring, responsive, patient and courteous. The Government’s desire to divest some entities; merge entities where greater economies of scale can be achieved; wind-up overlapping or inactive entities and outsource functions that can better be performed by the private sector are important steps. These will help to achieve delivery of better service; effect cost efficiencies and provide more public resources for growth-enhancing spending in the areas of infrastructure and security-related matters, and expansion of social protection.
Co-chair of PSTOC Danny Roberts said that “public sector transformation represents an important pillar in the achievement of sustainable growth and that the work of PSTOC complements the work of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) and the Economic Growth Council (EGC) with the ultimate objective of generating economic growth with quality jobs, reducing poverty and improving the standard of living of the people.” He noted that in addition to the quality public service, public sector transformation should also contribute to the growth agenda and added employment opportunities that will arise with the attainment of the EGC’s 5-in-4 growth target. In reviewing the structural benchmarks under the programme, the Committee endorsed the need for a robust change management plan as this was crucially important to the success of public sector transformation, which will largely depend on a committed, motivated and adequately compensated cadre of public sector employees. Efforts will be made to ensure that public sector employees have a sense of ownership of the transformation process. Mr Roberts said that there will be a high level of engagement with public sector employees to get suggestions and feedback on how best to make the exercise achieve its objectives.
The Committee, co-chaired by Danny Roberts and Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Douglas Saunders, includes Mr Paul Scott, Ms Jennifer McDonald (PSOJ), Mrs Helene Davis Whyte, Mr O’Neil Grant (JCTU), Mr David Wan, Mr Courtney Campbell (JEF), Dr Noel Cowell (Academia), Mr Everton McFarlane, Financial Secretary, Mrs Audrey Sewell, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Ms Maria Thompson Walters, Executive Director of the Implementation Team.
For more information, please contact:
Danny Roberts || Chairman, PSTOC