Monday 23 September, 2019

Over $2 billion in investment lost to poor public sector performance

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Public sector performance has come under fire once again, this time from the economist, Dr. Delisle Worrell, claiming that the country has been “robbed” of over $2 billion in investment opportunities. 

In his monthly economic letter, titled ‘Public Sector Reform Begins with the Timely Publication of Annual Reports’, Dr. Worrell said in order to turn the economy around, the public sector must be given a makeover to improve competitiveness and restore Barbados' attractiveness to investors.

In the most recent Doing Business Report from the World Bank, Barbados scored 56.78 out of 100 on the ease of doing business and ranked 129 out of 190 countries globally. 

Explaining the importance of the Annual Reports, Dr. Worrell said, "the Annual Report is the place where all public sector entities report to the people of Barbados on their performance. Barbadians will have their first concrete evidence of public sector reform when the first Government department or statutory corporation reports on its performance for the last fiscal year."

The Annual Reports, he noted, are considered critical for measuring the performance of government and public institutions.

"Over thirty years ago my colleague Muriel Saunders and I completed a report on Government spending on health, education and other public services. That report may be found on the Central Bank of Barbados' website.

In it we were able to show the results of public expenditure in terms of the incidence of disease, hospital beds available, educational achievement at various levels, crime statistics, and a variety of public and social services.

We could track progress year by year, using the annual reports of the Departments of Health, Education, Agriculture, etc. Our study cannot be updated to the current time, because not one of the reports that were routinely produced forty years ago is now available.”

He stressed that public accountability begins with timely publication of these reports, adding the public has a right to expect Annual Reports from every government department, agency, statutory corporation as well as the University of the West Indies (UWI) and every entity that receives government financing.

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