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Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, is calling for further collaboration between Government and Opposition Parliamentarians on the issue of public sector transformation.

Dr. Phillips said this is to “ensure that we collectively deliver to Jamaica, a much more efficient, user friendly and growth-oriented public sector to the country.”

The Minster made the call during his closing presentation in the 2013/14 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 1, under the theme ‘A New Direction For Hope And Expanding Opportunity’.

He noted that the issue represents one area in which there is a convergence of view on what needs to be done.

Responding to Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness’ presentation on the matter last week, during his contribution to the Budget Debate, Dr. Phillips noted that: “we both agree to reduce the size of the public sector establishment; we both agree on the need for the merger of departments and agencies; we both agree on the need for a comprehensive privatization programme; and we also agree on the need for centralized corporate service.”

He reiterated that the Central Treasury Management System (CTMS) is already on the way, which will give effect to the Opposition Leader’s call for a central payroll platform.

He also pointed out that there are important efficiencies to be gained from establishing a new technical office to drive e-government and to provide new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) systems and reduce the cost of communication within government. It would also enable greater utilization of electronic transactions.

Dr. Phillips acknowledged the merit in the Opposition Leader’s suggestion that Parliament be involved in providing oversight and perhaps approval for strategic investments so that they can be fast-tracked.

“This is an issue that we certainly would want to explore further because I believe the entire country should recognise that growth represents the urgent imperative to be pursued now, if we are not to squander the opportunities provided by the Extended Fund Facility that we have concluded with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” Dr. Phillips said.

By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter