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The House of Representatives has affirmed the Civil Service General Order of 2008, which indicates changes that have been made in the civil service establishment since 2006.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, who tabled the Order, in the House on November 25, explained that part one refers to changes in salaries, with new salary scales for 66 classification groups, while part two reflects changes in the complement of posts in Ministries and Departments, and changes in posts.
As outlined in the Order, 400 new posts were created, 285 upgraded, 160 reclassified, and 425 retitled, while 355 posts were abolished from the establishment of several Ministries and Departments. In relation to posts, the Order outlines reclassification of posts, new posts created, upgrading of posts, and the effective dates of these changes.
Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Reverend Ronald Thwaites, questioned whether the country could afford to pay for these posts, stressing that there needs to be “an extremely careful” rationale for the addition of posts.
“Every single position in the public service needs to be looked at and examined, as to its enduring utility.It is absolutely important that given the extent of the national resources that goes to paying the public service, that we have a careful, forensic look at the size of the public service. This remains an enduring concern,” he said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Southern St. Catherine, Fitz Jackson, queried whether the periodic meetings agreed on, under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between Government and public sector workers, are on track, and how many persons have received training under the training component of the MoU.
In his response, the Minister undertook to provide the House with the data on training, and informed that an MoU monitoring meeting had been held on November 24, chaired by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, Senator Dwight Nelson. “It is his intention that the meetings from here on will be kept on a regular basis, in accordance with the stipulations of the agreement,” Mr. Shaw said.
On the size of the publics sector, the Minister assured that this is a concern of the Government. “It’s not size alone, it’s a question also of efficiency in the delivery of service. It is a fact that it is one of the issues that this Government has resolved to deal with in a very serious and comprehensive way. It is part of the programme of reform that we are undertaking,” he said, noting that the first step towards this reform had been taken, with 74 companies identified to be wound up.
He informed that 12 of these companies have in fact been wound up over the past couple of months, and that the others are in varying stages of being wound up.
Mr. Shaw told the House that Maria Jones, who is in charge of that winding up process; Senator Nelson; the Public Enterprise Division of the Ministry; and the Cabinet office, are working as a team on the larger issue of the rationalisation of the public sector.
“It’s a commitment that we have made, primarily to ourselves, but so confident are we in our commitment, that it is also a part of the policy-based loans that we are negotiating with the multilateral institutions,” he pointed out.