JIS News

Finance and Public Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says prevailing economic developments impacting Jamaica, and the Government’s response to these, should serve to sharpen the focus of civil servants on the need for enhanced efficiency and productivity within the public service.
This is important, he contends, in a bid to ensure that Jamaica is positioned to attain economic growth and prosperity, while citing the role private sector counterparts must also play in this regard.
“The challenges facing the nation at this time, dictate that we must have all hands on deck in navigating our way to prosperity and to sustain growth, because that is the bottom line,” the Minister stated, while addressing the Management Institute for National Development’s (MIND)11th graduation ceremony at the institution’s Old Hope Road campus in St. Andrew on Saturday, December 11.
Noting the critical and pivotal role, which education can and must play in this process, Mr. Shaw said the public sector must be equipped not just to perform the task at hand, but to embrace the necessity for change and transformation.
“We must have change. (But) the change cannot just come from policy changes. A lot of the change that we need is change in the mindset of our people.not just the public sector. It’s a change in the thinking of everybody, whether we are in the public sector or.the private sector. The old adage is true: ‘we cannot do the same thing, the same way, under the same conditions, and yet expect different results’. So we have to begin to change our way of doing things,” he asserted.
Arguing that the objective of education and training is to achieve behavioural and attitudinal changes while fostering adaptability to new ideas and perspectives, Minister Shaw lamented that, often individuals pursue professional enrichment and advanced programmes for the “wrong reasons”.
“We diligently absorb and test theories, we undertake projects and read for degrees, and most times, we do very well. But what of translating knowledge into higher levels of productivity? What of re-orienting our performance more in line with facilitation rather than according to the dictates of traditional bureaucracy. This process must be underpinned by transformation of the culture of the public service to one that is totally business-like and professionally oriented, while carrying out its economic and social responsibilities,” he stated, while noting that enhancing productivity is the preserve of both the private and public sectors.
Continuing, the Finance Minister said while it is evident that the “face” of the civil service is changing, there is need for a more “modernized” public sector, focusing on individuals performing and translating that into productivity, rather than on long service and tenure.
“To obtain efficiency and effectiveness, we are going to need qualified people, but qualified people with the right attitude. We want the civil service to be the place of choice for work, not the place where you come to relax, where you come to get job security. But the place where you come because you want to contribute to nation building,” Mr. Shaw said.
Alluding to the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU), the Minister said its establishment is demonstrative of the administration’s commitment to rationalizing the civil service. This is with a view to improving efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Noting that the service’s current structure is characterized by many entities with unclear and overlapping functions, he assured that the administration is committed to implementing the PSTU’s core recommendations during the 2011/12 fiscal year.
Mr. Shaw added that, within this context, they were also committed to reducing the public sector wage bill from 11.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 9 .5 per cent in the medium term.
He pointed out however that this does not automatically equate to job cuts. “What it means is that you (seek to) achieve that ratio of the cost of wages by doing one of two things: you either cut jobs, or you grow the economy. If you grow the economy and you can earn more revenue, then you can keep your public sector where it is now, or you can even increase the number of people working in the public sector. So everything has to, now, be a function of how we grow and earn our way,” he said.
Meanwhile, in her report, MIND’s Chief Executive Officer, Ruby Brown, said over 4,000 individuals spawning the private and public sectors registered for and participated in the Institute’s courses this year. Of these, 194, who attained certification on successful completion of courses of study, graduated during Saturday’s ceremony.
Mrs. Brow advised that 89 per cent of the graduates were drawn from all 15 Ministries, with the Ministry of Finance accounting for 20 per cent of this year’s cohort. The remaining 11 per cent, she added, were from the private sector
An Executive Agency of the government, MIND is a tertiary level institution, registered with the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). The institute offers a range of Certificate, Diploma, Associate of Science Degree, and Post Graduate level courses in Accounting; Government Accounting; Management Studies; Administrative Management; Project Design, Implementation and Management; Human Resources Management; and Supplies Management.
In commending the institution on its record of achievements over the years, Mr. Shaw urged the management to intensify its efforts in private sector facilitation and entrepreneurship. This, “armed with a clear appreciation of the role of business in growing the economy and generating employment,” he underscored.