Speaking today (11 April) at the Labour Market Forum, Dr Clarke asserts that the approximately 190 public bodies in Jamaica are unmanageable for a country of its size and resources. “The sheer number of public bodies compromises the ability for effective parliamentary oversight, reflection and review required for good governance. Furthermore, to the extent that with thought and imagination we could do with fewer public bodies it means that we are absorbing resources in time and money that could be deployed elsewhere making our economy more efficient,” the Minister said.
He notes that the practice of creating “dozens of additional public bodies without the certain means to sustainably fund them” is not economically viable and robs the country of much-needed resources for higher priority activities. “Several public bodies of a commercial nature need billions and billions of dollars in capital investment to upgrade their products and improve service delivery to the Jamaican people. This simply cannot be provided by the government and so we will invite private investment and ensure broad participation in such opportunities,” Dr Clarke said.
The Minister notes that a review of the agenda for rationalisation of public bodies is being conducted and within the next six weeks the necessary consultations towards the establishment of an accelerated timetable will be undertaken. “This timetable will consider all of the opportunities that are present with respect to divestment of public sector companies that have a commercial focus but which are not necessary for government to carry out their key functions; merging public sector entities where they perform similar key functions, in order to achieve more effective delivery of service and re-integrating public bodies into their parent ministries where they no longer require the status of a public entity in body corporate form to carry out their mandate,” he said.
This revised agenda will be integrated within Jamaica’s formal programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, the Finance Minister emphasises that “we are not waiting for the IMF’s next Review to do this. Consistent with the approach we require for a post-IMF era we will do what needs to be done to secure our economic independence together, without prodding from anyone.”
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