REPRESENTATIVES of the Private Sector Organisation of
Jamaica (PSOJ) last week made submissions to the Public Administration
and Appropriations Committee of Parliament telling the committee that it
was in full agreement with the central premise of the Public Sector
Rationalisation Programme, the body tasked with restructuring the public
Peter Melhado, who presented on behalf of PSOJ president Joseph Matalon
last Wednesday, said that the PSOJ was in agreement with the premise
that "what government should do and pay for; what government must pay
for, but does not have to do; and what government should do and should
not pay for."
Melhado's presentation to the committee was short as the submissions
were contained in a document that was previously distributed to the
He said one thing that was missing from the recommendations contained in
the green paper was the priority that should be given to the areas
under review. He said the Governments legislative agenda must be paced
to support the changes being proposed.
According to him, there was no argument with intended outcomes, but its
success ultimately depended on the leadership that would be offered to
effect the objectives.
Without commenting on the rationalisation plan, the PSOJ had observations of its own.
On the role of government ministries, the PSOJ believed that over the
years the ministries have widened their mandates and often created
overlapping role with other ministries and agencies.
"While the research behind these proposed changes have clearly been
done, we note that there has been no compression in the number of
ministries which we believe would have allowed for even greater
efficiency through scale down at the individual entity level...," the
As a result, a large number of entities have been transferred between
ministries. Accordingly, the PSOJ feels that it will take a great deal
of planning and strong implementation to execute and absorb the level of
change proposed within the expected timeframes.
The PSOJ, however, did not say if it believed that merging any of the
current 16 ministries would be an effective, cost-saving effort.
It agreed that the proposed shared service clusters made good sense, as
some services are duplicated across ministries and pointed to the
merging or consolidating of entities with a similar mandate or customer
grouping, as imperative, and a good example being proposed for the
Ministry of Mining.
Committee member Michael Stern challenged the PSOJ to lend its
leadership, experience and expertise to the programme to help Government
achieve its goals of restructuring the sector for greater efficiency.
Another area of observation was the compensation and leave policy, with
the PSOJ stating that the leave structure that currently obtains is
above what pertains in other jurisdictions and inimical to competitive
bureaucracy. It said the examination and streamlining of these issues
should be part of any comprehensive review of government machinery.
The PSOJ also offered comments on pension reform, treasury management, divestment and privatisation, as well as outsourcing.