LETTER OF THE DAY - Reform the public sector
THE EDITOR, Sir:Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has given the assurance that there are no plans at this time by the Government to cut public-sector jobs. Rather, the administration is focused on containing public-sector wages below nine per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The minister has given such a commitment, while promising that public-sector workers will not be asked to accept another wage freeze when the next round of wage negotiations gets under way soon.
It remains to be seen how the minister will be able to grant any meaningful wage increase and not cut public-sector jobs, while remaining committed to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) condition of containing public-sector wages within a certain level of GDP. Only recently, the IMF recommended that the Government consider extending the public sector wage freeze.
While it is full time our public-sector workers be given a pay increase and be paid fairly, considering many of them have been finding it difficult to survive in our hostile economic environment, the public sector is rather bloated, and in most instances, inefficient.
Despite the political unpalatability, especially as elections draw near, public-sector job cuts must be contemplated for the good of the country. Benefits packages must also be re-examined to be fair, but less overly generous and burdensome to the country's coffers.
The practice of government finding jobs for the boys and girls must be curtailed as too many of those given jobs in the public sector are party loyalists without the requisite skills to provide optimal service to the people of this country.
GET RID OF DUPLICATES
We must get rid of duplications and unnecessary positions in the public sector. We should also replace one out of every two public-sector workers and civil servants who retire and dedicate the savings to better remunerate and train those workers remaining in order to provide for greater efficiency and modernisation of the public sector.
Cutting the public sector, including members of the civil service, will result in fewer but better-paid workers, who should enjoy greater job satisfaction and deliver improved service to the citizenry.
In solidarity with the public-sector workers, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller must, at a minimum, cut and revamp her bloated and ineffective Cabinet to provide greater management to the country's affairs.
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER