KINGSTON — More details of the proposed restructuring of the public sector should be disclosed by early next week, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, disclosed May 11.
Mr. Vaz told journalists attending the weekly Post Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, that the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU), which is spearheading the process, is expected to address the schedule for implementation ‘if not this week, by early next week”.
During his 2011/12 Budget Debate presentation in Parliament on Tuesday (May 9), Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, announced the PSTU’s recommendations for the restructuring exercise, and tabled Ministry Paper Number 34, providing the outline. He said that it is proposed to reduce public sector employment from 118,163 to between 108,000 and 109,000, over a five year period.
Mr. Vaz said that the start of the exercise, expected to save Government $40- $50 billion, annually, should commence this month, with the next 24 months targeted for major modifications to the sector.
He said while decisions on changes within ministries, departments and agencies would be matters for Permanent Secretaries and other public service technocrats to decide, the PSTU will remain as the oversight body to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, as agreed.
“The implementation will be done though the ministries and agencies, in conjunction and in consultation with the PSTU,” he explained
Stressing that “proper treatment” of public sector employees was a Government priority, Mr. Vaz underscored the importance of the communication and consultative process in the undertaking
“The PSTU will continue, through consultations and collaborations, to engage public sector workers and unions to discuss various aspects of the modernization, and approaches to be adopted for implementation,” he said.
Noting that restructuring of the public sector was one of the planks for the successful negotiating of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stand-by agreement, Mr. Vaz said the tabling of the Ministry Paper and moves to implement the recommendations, were indications of the seriousness of the Government in putting in place the necessary reforms in the public sector to allow the economy to grow.
He advised that the PSTU will remain in place during implementation of the recommendations, which he described as a “very critical part” of the process.
“It is the implementation which is the practical part, which is where the challenges will come, if they are to come,” he contended.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter