Jamaica Information Service – Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, says the Government is collating data on the grades and salary scales of various positions across the civil service to determine how best these can be restructured.
The move, he pointed out, is aimed at retaining highly skilled people and improving efficiency in government operations, which is imperative in maintaining Jamaica’s fiscal credibility over the medium to long-term.
Dr. Clarke was speaking at a recent Caribbean Policy Research Institute public forum, at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies, St. Andrew.
He noted that Jamaica is blessed with a talented civil service, which has “lots of great people with phenomenal capacity” across ministries, departments and agencies.
He, however, pointed to “structural issues” pertaining to how persons are compensated, which he said “requires a lot of work” to address.
“We have over 326 grade classifications across the public sector (compared) with some developed countries (that) have seven. What that (326 classifications) does is it introduces a lot of unnecessary complexity that leads to inefficiencies,” he said.
He contended that this is further compounded by challenges in retaining much-needed technical experts in the public sector because of work-related issues, including compensation.
“So, clearly, the challenge is… if we are to remain on a fiscally credible path long into the future… how do we do that and at the same time make sure that we can address some of these imbalances (such as) the fact that people with high technical skills who are in demand need to be compensated at particular levels… if we (are) to retain them,” he argued.
He acknowledged that this is a “big challenge”, but one that the Administration is “up for”.
“We will need to address the issues, to the benefit of all Jamaicans and… all in the public service… in partnership with the (trade) unions and other stakeholders, (and) with the help of the International Monetary Fund… (through) elements in the (Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement) programme, over the next several months,” he said.