JIS News

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, has said that there were significant indicators, which point to improvements in operational efficiencies in various areas of the public sector.
The Finance Minister, while admitting that there was “still room for improvement”, said that the operations of some government departments “demonstrate that they are world class”. He highlighted the performance of the Statistical Institute and the Planning Institute of Jamaica in putting out regular data, which were highly regarded internationally.
Dr. Davies, who was speaking at the official launch of the citizens’ charters for the Ministry and the Accountant General’s Department at his office in Kingston recently said: “the notion that on the one hand there is this efficient private sector and on the other hand there is an inefficient public sector is erroneous”. According to him, it was no longer true that civil servants provided poor service because they were “badly paid and under bad working conditions”.
Supporting the view of the Finance Minister, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis, said that the recent favourable ratings given to Jamaica in a World Bank survey, “are not accidental (and) they didn’t just happen”.
The survey titled ‘Doing Business in 2004′ stated that Jamaica was among the top ten countries in facilitating business. The study gave Jamaica’s bureaucracy a rating of 4.5 as compared to 6 for the United States.
“When you consider all the resources to that particular bureaucracy (the United States), we are not doing badly at 4.5”, the Cabinet Secretary stated.
Dr. Davis said the ratings indicated that, “we have been doing a number of things right, and (the introduction of) the citizens’ charters is one of these things we have been doing right”.
As part of the Public Sector Modernisation Programme (PSMP), government agencies and departments have been mandated to adopt citizens’ charters, which hold workers to high standards of service delivery and inform the public how they can get in touch with officials, what to expect by way of services and how to seek a remedy if something goes wrong.
Dr. Davis commended those civil servants “whose efforts have made the citizens charter a success in their departments. “I expect no less from the Ministry of Finance”, he charged.
The Ministry’s citizens charter promises, among other things, to have telephone calls answered within five rings and that persons should not be put on hold for more than thirty seconds.
Additionally, the charter promises to make available, the Estimates of Expenditure within two working days of tabling in Parliament and the public may obtain Financial Statements and Revenue Estimates within two working days after the Finance Minister opens the Budget Debate.

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