As the Government prepares to enter into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), public sector workers are being reminded that they will have to increase efficiency and productivity, with reduced resources, particularly over the next three years.
Speaking to registrants for the Tax Audit and Revenue Administration (TARA) post graduate diploma programme (cohort 26), at the Management Institute of National Development (MIND) on Monday morning (January 25), Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes, noted that over the next 24 to 36 months, “our lives are going to be impacted by our relationship with the IMF and the other multilateral institutions.”
He said the IMF agreement will require the Government to reduce its expenditure, as a proportion of GDP.
“The first thing is that the Government’s ability to spend in the future is not going to be what it was in the past. Every single soul will have to become more efficient in the public sector, if the Government is going to carry out its functions with less resources,” he warned.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), Mrs. Ruby Brown (right), emphasises a point during a discussion with Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes, at the opening ceremony for a Tax Audit and Revenue Administration post graduate diploma programme (cohort 26), at MIND’s Old Hope Road campus in Kingston yesterday (January 25).
Dr. Hughes stated that, in the coming years, revenue will mainly be used to reduce the country’s debt.
“Both recurrent and capital (expenditure) will be reduced, if not in nominal terms, then certainly in real terms, because the capacity is just not there,” Dr. Hughes said.
He added that because Jamaica has such a huge debt stock, whatever additional revenue is collected, whether through the debt exchange programme or through increased tax measures, most of it will be used to service the existing debt.
The Financial Secretary said this will create an opportunity for the Government to become more efficient; free up resources, allowing the private sector and the wider economy to grow; and enable the Government to get more revenue, so that it can carry out new infrastructural projects and enhance existing ones.
Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes (left), having a light discussion with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), Mrs. Ruby Brown, at the opening ceremony for a Tax Audit and Revenue Administration post graduate diploma programme (cohort 26), at MIND’s Old Hope Road campus in Kingston yesterday (January 25).
Dr. Hughes said that, in the past, Jamaica did not own its IMF programme and, as such, the Fund was seen as a “test” to be passed by the end of each month in order to receive the drawdown.
“We didn’t really believe in the spirit of what was being done. At the end of the programme, all that happened is that we survived, (but) had a larger debt stock,” he said.
Dr. Hughes pointed out that the real structural changes and reform that were needed were not done with sufficient depth and seriousness.
Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes addresses revenue agents at the opening ceremony for a Tax Audit and Revenue Administration post graduate diploma programme (cohort 26), at the Management Institute of National Development’s (MIND) Old Hope Road campus in Kingston yesterday (January 25).
“This time around, as a society, we have to say this is our programme. We have to own it, we have to implement it. It’s going to be tough, but these are things that we need to do,” he explained.
He told the participants that they will be an integral part of the process of enforcing and supporting the Government’s revenue collection, which requires proper training such as that being provided by MIND.
“We can’t ask you to be such an important player if you are not properly trained. While it is the business of Government to collect all its revenue, it is important that the Government interfaces with the public in the most professional and sensitive manner. It is your job to provide quality service to customer,” the Financial Secretary implored.
The course, which began Monday (January 25), will continue for 13 months, involving 25 revenue agents. It is conducted in collaboration with MIND, and selects and trains tertiary graduates with a degree or diploma in accounting, management studies, business administration, or any other related field.