Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
AFTER LONG delays extending across political administrations, the Portia Simpson Miller-led Government is now preparing to implement the long-awaited Public Sector Transformation Programme.
"It's now shifting towards implementation mode as far as I understand," Financial Secretary Devon Rowe revealed on Wednesday at a meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament.
The implementation of the public sector transformation exercise is one of the precursors to the inking of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for an extended fund facility.
Late last year, Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Douglas Saunders said he could not have provided definitive dates for the implementation of the programme. However, Saunders had indicated that the start-up exercise could get under way in January 2013.
The Public Sector Transformation Programme is aimed at significantly cutting public- sector fat such as exorbitant rental costs.
The overall objective, however, is to revolutionise the operations of the public sector to make it more efficient and cost-effective.
Meanwhile, despite signing a wage freeze with the Government until 2015, public-sector workers are to receive a one-off payment of $25,000 each year for the next three years.
NO WAGE INCREASE
"Instead of a wage increase, there has been a one-off payment of $25,000 to each public sector worker," financial secretary Devon Rowe told a parliamentary oversight committee on Wednesday.
In addition, Rowe said a 2.5 per cent increment would also be paid to public servants who were paid from the budget such as police, teachers, nurses, civil servants, Jamaica Defence Force.
However, each worker would only benefit from this incentive if he/she met certain performance criteria.
Member of the PAAC Richard Parchment suggested that the Government could provide housing benefits to civil servants as well as members of parliament and parish councillors.
Rowe said as part of the agreement it was contemplated that government land could be utilised for potential housing for public servants.