Former Governor of the Central Bank Dr DeLisle Worrell is blaming the public sector for Barbados’ falling ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report.
And he’s suggested that until the public sector receives a “makeover” then the island will remain uncompetitive.
Worrell said in his August newsletter. “The main reason that Barbados slipped from number 46 in the global competitiveness rankings to number 72 in the most recent Global Competitiveness Report is the poor performance of our public sector.
“Delays in registration and approval processes have robbed the country of over $2 billion of public and private investment in recent years.
“In order to turn the economy around, the public sector must be given a makeover, to improve competitiveness and restore Barbados’ attractiveness to investors.”
He said the country would have its first concrete evidence of public sector reform when the first government department or statutory corporation reports on its performance for the last fiscal year.
Over the years, the Auditor General’s Report has made repeated calls for government departments and agencies to bring their financials up to date.
Since coming to office just over a year ago, the Barbados Labour Party administration has indicated that it would be seeking to get all departments and statutory boards to bring their audited financial statements up to date.
Stating that the information provided in annual reports is a basis for measuring the performance of Government and public institutions, Worrell said public accountability begins with the timely publication of those reports.
He said: “The public has a right to expect annual reports from every Government Department and agency, every statutory corporation, the University of the West Indies and every other entity that receives Government financing.
“These reports must be published within three months of the end of each institution’s financial year, so that accountability is current and relevant.
“They must account for the use of the public running received, compare their performance to the intended programme for the year, and explain their successes and failures.
“They must say what they plan for the current year, with the resources made available from Government’s current budget.
“Their plans should include addressing unfinished business from the previous year, and provide an outline of medium-term goals.”
Quoting the old saying that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, Worrell said the challenge of public sector reform was daunting but the timely publication of annual reports was “the single first step” towards the needed change that Barbadians expect.