JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that reducing the public sector wage bill is vital to Government’s goal of making more resources available for investment.
He was addressing the House of Representatives on September 30, immediately following the meeting of the Standing Finance Committee that accepted the 2009-2010 Supplementary Estimates of expenditure.
“Restructuring the public sector to be more efficient and cost-effective is what is required to enable the economy to grow… It is modernising and improving the efficiency of Government to stimulate economic growth that will ensure that opportunities are created for the absorption of displaced workers in endeavours that are perhaps more rewarding than they currently enjoy,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that easier Government systems and the removal of opportunities for dishonesty will be the guiding principles for change.
“Processes will have to be simplified. Some of the bureaucratic requirements we impose on the public serve no useful purpose and will have to be abolished. Some things that now require approval don’t need to require approval. And with every transaction that has to be undertaken, we create an opportunity for corruption,” Mr. Golding said.
Recalling his word that public sector jobs would not be cut, the Prime Minster said that the 50 per cent increase in the wage bill over the past two years could not be ignored and the Cabinet will not escape scrutiny.
“In crafting the budget earlier this year, I gave an assurance that there would be no redundancies in the public sector this year. Since then, we have been confronted with new wage settlements for teachers and nurses that add a further $16 billion annually to the public sector wage bill, not including retroactive payments. This wage bill burden cannot be sustained or else we will do nothing else but pay salaries and service debt.. In reducing the size of Government, the size of the Cabinet and the number of Ministries will also be dealt with,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minister said that of the $561 billion for public spending, $157 billion will go towards the cost of Government, and $79 billion for services such as road repair, health and education services. The public sector currently employs 117,000 persons with a wage bill of $135 billion, not including pensions.

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