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Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that the Government is determined to prevent job losses in the public sector, even as it tries to contain the wage bill.
“We have no desire or intention to make workers redundant. We know the hardships that they would bear,” he stated yesterday (May 5) in his contribution to the 2009/10 Budget Debate in Gordon House.
He noted however that “we are not going to be able to pay public sector workers the decent salaries they deserve unless we contain the size of the public sector” which now stands at 114,792 persons. He said that of the number, 4,820 are not attached to any post. “Non-critical vacancies that arise will not be filled. Where possible, posts will be retired when the holder of the post retires, or where other posts can be retired to allow for promotion,” Mr. Golding stated, adding that staff will be redeployed to areas where shortages exist.
Other cost-saving measures include winding-up non-functioning agencies. The Prime Minister said that of the 205 Government entities, 65 have been identified that “are either non-functional or are doing the same work that others are supposed to do.” He informed that 13 of these have already been wound up and the others are to follow.
In addition, some entities will be relocated to low-cost office spaces. The Prime Minister noted that “in the Corporate Area, alone, we have 269,000 square feet of Government space empty and locked up, while we are renting 403,000 square feet of privately owned office space in New Kingston and elsewhere at an annual cost of $217 million.”
He stated that some of these buildings will be refurbished to accommodate Government offices.
The Prime Minister said that he has instructed public sector heads to better manage their expenditure and cut costs where possible and will meet with them at the end of each quarter to evaluate their efforts.