JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, says it is necessary for Caribbean countries to continue to strengthen their Public Financial Management (PFM) system, to enhance fiscal responsibility reporting and oversight as well as to manage budgetary resources effectively.
  • Delivering the keynote address at the Caribbean Public Financial Management Conference on Thursday (January 30), at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, he said that citizens are demanding more of their government, including high-quality public services.
  • “They are also demanding greater efficiency in doing business with Government, and public-sector efficiency, which create the appropriate fiscal policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks to stimulate business growth and development,” he said.

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, says it is necessary for Caribbean countries to continue to strengthen their Public Financial Management (PFM) system, to enhance fiscal responsibility reporting and oversight as well as to manage budgetary resources effectively.

Delivering the keynote address at the Caribbean Public Financial Management Conference on Thursday (January 30), at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, he said that citizens are demanding more of their government, including high-quality public services.

“They are also demanding greater efficiency in doing business with Government, and public-sector efficiency, which create the appropriate fiscal policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks to stimulate business growth and development,” he said.

“Fulfilling these demands requires governments to take a focused look on how we manage taxes, borrowing, and spending,” Dr. Henry added.

Therefore, he said PFM strategies, which seek to achieve better management of public models, are critical.

“A robust PFM is an anchor for good decision-making, for example, budgeting decisions to address national priorities for promoting transparency and accountability of resources for investment. And, of course, public-service delivery,” the PIOJ Head said.

He emphasised that PFM continues to be an area of critical importance for Jamaica, as it was pivotal in the country’s recently concluded programme relationship arrangement with the International Monetary Fund and continues to be as Jamaica pushes the implementation of various policies and programmes, aimed at promoting growth and development.

Dr. Henry further explained that in the last six and a half years, Jamaica has been engaged in a series of far-reaching reforms – structural, regulatory and administrative – with the goal of entrenching macroeconomic stability, a prerequisite for economic growth and development.

“As a result, the economic gains that the country is enjoying today are unprecedented and include the lowest unemployment rates in Jamaica’s history and record employment levels, multiple years of low inflation, public debt at its lowest point in 20 years, 19 consecutive quarters of economic growth, the longest stretch of consecutive growth since the Statistical Institute of Jamaica started measuring quarterly growth,” he shared.

Some of the PFM reforms include amendments to the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act and the Financial Administration and Audit Act, to strengthen the fiscal rules; restructuring of the Accountant General’s Department and its continued transformation to a modern treasury; the introduction of new legislation for public procurement management; utilising key information and communications technology infrastructure for revenue enhancement; restructuring of the debt management function in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, to meet international standards; and the implementation of a Public Investment Management System.

The PIOJ Head said the conference is very timely and important, especially given the number of reforms that the country has employed in the last few years.

“The theme, ‘Creating a 21st Century Finance Function’, is a multifaceted one, and for the economies of developing countries, such as those in the Caribbean, it will involve reliance on accrual-based information for credible, more efficient and effective decision-making.

Meanwhile, Deputy President of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Mark Millar, emphasised that creating an environment where economic growth is sustainable requires a partnership between the public and the private sectors.

He further underscored the importance of the public sector in developing and maintaining public value and public trust.

“In the end, we are charged with overseeing the use of the money that our people give to us, so we have the responsibility to demonstrate, to the people that we serve, that the money that they are entrusting to us is being spent wisely, is being properly accounted for and that they are getting a return,” Mr. Millar said.

The Conference, hosted by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and ACCA, brings together Caribbean countries to share their knowledge and experience on the successes and failure of their PFM initiatives and the corresponding Public Expenditure and Financial Authority assessments.