SSA, BWA, Transport Board earmarked for privatization
As the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program advances to Phase Three, a shake-up of state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) will be undertaken which will see a number of them being privatized.
Restructuring of SOE’s is expected to start in the next fiscal year and could potentially see a large number of public servants out of a job.
Speaking at a Nation Talkback townhall meeting on Wednesday at the Grande Salle of the Central Bank, Dr. Kevin Greenidge said the restructuring of the operations of central government and SOE’s should result in a significant savings for government by year end and into next year.
Dr. Greenidge explained, so far three SOE’s have being considered for privatization, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) and the Transport Board, adding these will not be outrightly privatised but rather will have some of its services owned and managed by private individuals and companies.
“For example, if the workers at the Transport Board were allowed to, through some mechanism, to own the buses, that would significantly reduce the costs to government and create an entrepreneurial level of workers that will certainly drive economic growth.
If the Sanitation and Water Authority, if the workers repair trucks and own the process, you can see improvement in efficiency.”
He stressed the restructuring process of SOE's is critical if government is to meet the targets set out in the BERT program which will allow them to continue to access funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other lending agencies.
“If we don’t restructure our SOE’s and we don’t make that target then … financing that we wanted to reform and grow the economy will stop. It is not a matter of culture... if we set our minds to say this is something that we must do as a people, we will get it done.”
Dr. Greenidge also suggested, to increase functioning and efficiency, user fees be implemented at some government departments such as the Land Registry, Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office and Financial Services Commission.
“These are all institutions that can look to increase user fees because they service a clientele that can pay a bit more. In every part of the world these services are charged.”
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