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Story Highlights

  • Government entities are to be relocated from privately-owned buildings to State- owned facilities over the medium to long-term.
  • The move, which comes under the Public Sector Space Rationalisation Programme approved by Cabinet, is expected to save the Government billions in annual rental costs.
  • Minister Falconer said Cabinet also approved the allocation of funds to refurbish existing Government buildings and undertake the necessary maintenance.

Government entities are to be relocated from privately-owned buildings to State- owned facilities over the medium to long-term.

The move, which comes under the Public Sector Space Rationalisation Programme approved by Cabinet, is expected to save the Government billions in annual rental costs.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, said the relocation “will be based on a schedule developed by the Ministry with responsibility for Government accommodations, and the core responsibility for planning, coordinating and organising the space rationalisation programme will be that of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.”

She was addressing a Jamaica House press briefing today (December 16), at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Ms. Falconer said the Ministry will ensure that the database on properties occupied by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), both State-owned and private, is updated.

She said the Public Sector Transformation Unit has analysed the financial statements of MDAs and found that in 2012, the Government spent in excess of

$1.55 billion on rental and maintenance of office space.

“An estimated $476.6 million represented payments from the Government to Government and 69 per cent or $1.087 billion represented payments to the private sector,” she said.

She said the rationalisation of the use of space within the sector forms part of the Government’s aim to transform the public sector.

Minister Falconer said Cabinet also approved the allocation of funds to refurbish existing Government buildings and undertake the necessary maintenance.

“Negotiating lease purchase agreement with private owners by individual Ministries, Departments and Agencies has created disparities in the cost, condition and quality of accommodation across the public sector,” she pointed out.

She further noted that some Government-owned facilities have become functionally obsolete due to age and lack of maintenance over the decades.

“This has forced Ministries, Departments and Agencies to rent privately-owned buildings rather than identifying the funding to refurbish and maintain Government facilities. These issues have implications for a cost effective and efficient public sector. In addition, the state of buildings can impact the health, safety and welfare of staff in the public sector,” she noted.

She added that consultations have been held with stakeholders including Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Department Heads.