Cabinet Recommends 20 Agencies be Consolidated


Education, Youth and Culture Minister, Maxine Henry-Wilson has said that the Cabinet Office has recommended some 20 agencies to be consolidated to bring about greater efficiency in the public sector.
According to the Minister there were significant overlaps in the mandates of some agencies and as such some would have to be collapsed or made redundant.
Addressing a JIS Think Tank session on Wednesday (April 21), Minister Henry-Wilson pointed out that the Metropolitan Management Transport Holdings Limited (MMTH) was one such agency that was being wound up as the organisation became redundant with the introduction of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).
She did not indicate which other agencies were being considered but pointed out that methodologies involving an examination of organisation structure would be used to determine how agencies were trimmed.
She added that the process would look at the various programmes of government and expunge any “expansive supports for administration.”
Elaborating on how sectors would be financed in light of the recent budget presentation by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies, Mrs. Henry Wilson said that efforts should be made to determine how government might cut expenditure and improve efficiency. “For every dollar that you spend, you have to look at how you spend it – that is best corporate practice,” she stressed.
She added that agencies would need to ensure that what they now have was being spent in an optimal way, pointing out that budgetary allocation, though important, was not the overarching concern. “We need to focus more on how we (government bodies) spend the $30 billion that we get,” she advised, “.We need to look at how we deploy each dollar and to ask ourselves ‘is this the best use of this dollar?” The Education Minister paid tribute to public sector workers for their sacrifice in signing a Memorandum of Understanding. “The MOU has given us a breather and has saved us about five to six billion dollars”, she said.
She added that the government, for its part, had a responsibility to manage the country’s finances in a manner that would ensure that the quality of life of workers was maintained.
In the meantime, the Minister said that user fees were an accepted part of public financing and were particularly necessary for specialised diagnostic care at public hospitals. These services, she said, were targeted to specific persons and were not generalised health care. She pointed out that specialised health care such as CAT scans were very expensive and were provided with a fee attached.
“No government can fund that level of sophisticated diagnostic care and this is so in many other areas,” she said. User fees, she added, would assist the health sector in recovering some of its costs.
The government recently announced that it would be adjusting user fees for the provision of services in some public institutions.

JIS Social