Gov’t spending $2b to improve public sector efficiency

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GOVERNMENT will be spending over $2 billion on some critical projects to improve efficiency in targeted areas of its operations over the next four years.

The projects are the modernisation of the work permit system in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; improving the ICT network infrastructure at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA); enhancing cross-border trade; the implementation of a fisheries licensing and registration system; upgrading the Government data centre; and the establishment of the Government ICT network.

The Transformation Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service is managing the implementation of the projects under the Support to the Public Sector Transformation Programme.

Speaking at a signing ceremony recently, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Colette Roberts Risden, said the modernisation of the work permit system will significantly improve the customer experience for work permit applicants.

“It will also enable us to make decisions on work permits in a timelier manner and with more information. The expectation is that as the system is developed and built out, we will be linking decisions with information from our labour market, so we expect that we are not only going to be bringing about greater efficiencies, but also improvements in how we make decisions on the granting of work permits ,” Roberts Risden said.

At the same time, financial secretary Darlene Morrison emphasised that “it is very important to work together as ministries and departments to realise efficiency gains in the public sector and to improve the delivery of services to everyone who accesses public services”.

The modernisation of the work permit system will result in the re-engineering of work permit procedures and the implementation of an effective and user-friendly web-based system to facilitate significantly improved processing, review, approval and issuing of work permits in Jamaica.

The ICT network infrastructure expansion project at the CPFSA will include the procurement of equipment and services to incorporate more than 85 access points across the residential child protection sector, CPFSA parish offices and its therapeutic centre. It will also incorporate the operations of the National Children’s Registry into the child case management system, which will allow for the electronic routing of information between the registry and the team entrusted with the responsibility of investigating child abuse reports.

The cross-border trade project, meanwhile, will see the adoption of international standards for trade through streamlining and reducing the multiplicity of inspections by border regulatory agencies from three or more inspections per transaction, to two or one coordinated inspection per transaction by June 2020.

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