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Reform unit moves to cut high public sector rental costs

Published:Monday | July 27, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Professor Alvin Wint

Deputy Chairman of the Public Sector Transformation and Modern-isation Steering Committee Professor Alvin Wint said a special unit is to be set up to deal with the high cost associated with spaces rented by government entities.

"In terms of the space-rationalisation programme, a unit is to be created that will specifically manage the process of transferring operations from private sector - in terms of leases - into government buildings that are being refurbished so we can realise some savings from that process," he said.

Wint, who was speaking last week at a Jamaica House press briefing, also called for greater urgency from all stakeholders involved in public-sector transformation.

"We have seen some progress, but the progress is not fast enough. We have to move with greater urgency as a society to say this issue of public-sector transformation is critical to the country's stability and growth prospects," he said.

REFORM FAILING

A think tank article put out by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) as a precursor to the launch of its new research paper, Reforming Public Sector Reform, has said that public-sector reform in Jamaica has largely failed.

"The lack of empowerment of public-sector workers has been a major hurdle in sustaining public-sector reform initiatives. The bureaucratic resistance observed in the public sector is due to many civil servants not having the ability to openly share ideas and evoke change within their work environment. As such, workers become 'stuck in their ways' and refuse to embrace change," the CaPRI article said.

Wint, meanwhile, said Jamaica's public sector is very expensive relative to the size of the economy.

"We have to become more efficient by doing more with less, and we are seeing some movement in that direction but I want to emphasise that the movement is not fast enough and we have to become more intense in terms of managing those public-sector costs," Wint said.