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Jamaica: Cabinet Dragging Feet on Reforms
Source: jamaica-gleaner.com
Source Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Institution and HR Management
Country: Jamaica
Created: Nov 01, 2010

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer of the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU), Patricia Sinclair McCalla, is pushing for speedy implementation of pension reform and adjustments to leave entitlement within the public sector.

The PSTU head told members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee recently that the issue of pension and leave entitlement could be introduced immediately.

"What it needs is a policy decision by the Cabinet to move the process forward in terms of some of these critical issues," she explained.

She observed that pension reform had been going on in the Ministry of Finance for the last four years.

"What we are saying, anybody that you employ as of January 1, 2011, there should be the understanding that you are coming on 15 days' leave, five days' casual leave or three days, 10 days' sick leave - standard. Everybody who is employed (would) join the public service on a contributory pension-scheme basis. That, for me, cannot be rocket science for us to just implement," she stressed.

Accumulated leave

The PSTU CEO said that public-sector wages, which represented 11.75 per cent of gross domestic product, did not take into consideration outstanding leave to public-sector workers.

"We are just now executing the exercise in terms of the public-sector census, and I am telling you, the accumulated leave is phenomenal."

Commenting on other critical recommendations in the Public Sector Master Rationalisation Plan, the PSTU head said the unit met recently with the National Works Agency to discuss how space could be better utilised within the public sector.

Bemoaning the extraordinary sums spent by some public bodies for rental, maintenance, and parking, Sinclair McCalla questioned: "Do we need to have the size offices that we currently occupy? I don't think so. These are things that can be done immediately; you don't need to wait on a green paper to act."

In the first phase of the transforma-tion exercise, particular ministries, such as finance, the Cabinet Office, and the Office of the Prime Minister would be targeted first because they form the basis of change.

According to Sinclair McCalla: "Those ministries must be looked at holistically in terms of their vision, mission, mandate, their core functions. What are the core skills and competences that are required?"

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