Public-sector service delivery to private sector being reshaped – Holness

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says public-sector service delivery is being reshaped to that of an enabler in the provision of goods and services to the private sector.

“The role of the public sector is not what it was 20 to 40 years ago. The role of the public sector now is to serve the private sector… while focusing more on their regulatory function,” Holness said.

He was addressing business and tourism interests at the Sandals Montego Bay Resort in St James on Saturday (October 12).

Holness said this shift has become necessary in light of the private sector now demonstrating its capability to provide some of the services it uses that were previously deemed impossible.

“The Government has been doing that. We have been reshaping government… we have been divesting… we have been selling… we have been contracting out the provision of services… we have been bringing government to a smaller footprint in terms of its actual provisioning of services. Where we now need to improve is on our regulatory function and our licensing and supervision functions,” he argued

Holness contended that the strength of the economy has long been in public enterprise.

“The problem with that, however, is that public enterprises have to manage risk taking and, therefore, the ability of the bureaucrat to be a risk-taker is limited,” he added.

The result of that, the prime minister further said, “is that it places a significant limit on the growth potential”.

“So while we move most of the service provision out of the public sector, we also have to get our technocrats to be calculated in their risk-taking… and to appreciate and understand… [the need to] give businesses the benefit of the doubt in moving their enterprises forward,” he emphasised.

Holness said, however, that the transformation will only be complete if the public sector fully understands that there is a new partnership requiring them to support the private sector as the engine of growth, where the risk-taking is shifted to that group while guaranteeing them the “certainty in licensing and supervisions [and] in approvals and regulations”.

“If we manage to do all of this transformation in the public sector, we will unleash the growth potential that is pent up within our private sector. I have great confidence that if we manage to get this partnership between the private and public sector, we will have the growth that we seek,” he added.


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