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Gov't should adequately fund OCG operations - PSOJ

Published:Saturday | July 16, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Mahfood

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has expressed concern about the critical shortage of funds in the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) that has left the oversight body struggling to meet its financial obligations.

The PSOJ is urging the Government and Parliament to urgently provide adequate funding to the OCG to properly execute its very important function.

A report out of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, which was carried in The Gleaner on Wednesday, quoted Contractor General Dirk Harrison as saying that the agency was operating on a shoestring budget and it was under severe pressure to pay even its rent. Its suppliers were not being paid on a regular basis and maintenance costs were also presenting a difficulty to pay.

Yesterday, PSOJ President William Mahfood said, "The Government must ensure that bodies such as the OCG, INDECOM (Independent Commission of Investigations) and the Office of the Public Defender are always adequately funded."

 

MORAL RESPONSIBILITY

 

He said that failure to properly fund these organisations compromised the rights of citizens and the accountability of those charged with managing public funds.

"Parliament has a moral responsibility to adequately fund these offices, especially since any delay can be construed as the Government trying to deliberately restrict the activities of the OCG and other bodies which are to hold them accountable," Mahfood said.

However, the PSOJ said it was confident that it could never be the intention of Parliament to restrict the operations of the OCG, and called on them to "immediately rectify this situation so that Jamaica can be assured of transparency and accountability in public-sector spending".