JIS News

KINGSTON — Cabinet has given final approval of the Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies, which it approved in principle in February of this year.

Making the announcement Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, at today's (Sept. 14) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said the document includes provisions in relation to the reporting relationship of the Chief Executive Officer and the chairman; the appointment of a new board subsequent to the change of administration to ensure transition and continuity; and the guidelines when considering the number of boards on which a director may serve.

It also includes the development of a code of ethics with a core set of values, which will be universally acceptable to all boards, and which would be supplemented where necessary, based on the particular operations of the entity.

The Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies is to be tabled as a Ministry Paper in Parliament at a later date.

Meanwhile, Cabinet approved the Ministry Paper titled: ‘Options for the reform of the public sector pension system' to be tabled in Parliament as a Green Paper. This will be done  following discussions between Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, Senator, the Hon. Arthur Williams and unions representing public sector workers.

Minister Vaz outlined that the existing public sector pension system has become unaffordable and unsustainable, with costs associated with payments increasing to 1.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010.

He said that the unsustainability of the system results from the growing debt and existing macro-economic conditions; the fact that the current system is non-contributory; and that life expectancy is increasing. In addition, the legislative framework for the public sector workers is complex and difficult to administer, as it comprises more than 30 statutes, he said.

The Information Minister noted that five options had emerged from a Government of Jamaica/World Bank review of the current pension system.

The review also identified the preferred option, and provided recommendations for improved administration of the pension process. "This is one of the issues that we are still in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with that needs to be resolved," Mr. Vaz remarked.

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter & Editor

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