Dr. Worrell: Public sector reform should start with those at the top
As strong believer in the need for reform in the size and operations of the public sector, economist and former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB), Dr. Delisle Worrell is of the view most of the changes need to be made with those at the top of the tier.
In his September Economic Letter titled A Public Sector That is Capably Led and Able to Get Things Done Will Spur Economic Growth, Dr. Worrell said the only way to restore economic growth is to increase the competitiveness of the public sector.
“A major reason for the loss of competitiveness is the worsening performance of the public sector. The key to unlocking the country's growth potential lies with specific actions that are required to improve the performance of the public sector.”
Noting that the country has slipped from Number 47 to Number 72 in the Global Competitiveness Report international rankings over the past five years, he said the process of reform begins with new leadership in the public service.
He said Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Departments and CEOs of state-owned enterprises must be selected to ensure that they possess the character, expertise and experience required to master their assignments.
“Serious public sector reform should begin with professional assessment of the leadership of the public service, and prompt action to bring that leadership to the required standard. The reform should include action plans with a target date for the publication of the 2018 annual report of every public sector agency, department and institution.”
He said the next task after addressing the practices of those at the top of government entities is to bring Barbados public sector operations into the digital world and do away with the old way of doing things.
“The new leadership must have the skill to devise and implement procedures and processes which have been developed for a digital world, and to dispense entirely with the inherited ways of doing things.”
Dr. Worrell said the decades of “poor and indifferent service” has created a large credibility gap where the public no longer expects to receive good service.
By increasing the efficiency in the delivery of public services in the areas of tourism, renewable energy, international business and entrepreneurship, Dr. Worrell believes it could raise the current three percent potential economic growth, to rates exceeding five percent per year.
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