Government intends to effect reforms in many areas as it accelerates its transformation initiative, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn declared on Friday.
In a speech delivered virtually at the ACCA’s Caribbean Public Sector Financial Management Conference, under the theme: Reinvigorating the Public Sector: Transformation Through Crisis, Straughn told his audience: “I believe the aggressive execution of these reforms will put the Barbados economy in a better position than we were pre-COVID-19.”
He highlighted that during the lockdown, described as a “period of national pause”, most public workers are working from home unless deemed an essential worker where they must absolutely provide a direct service to the public.
Straughn said: “For many, this was inconceivable just one year ago, and to the extent that we have been able to shift very quickly is testament to the vision of Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to aggressively implement our transformation agenda.
“We all know the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on all of our economies, and the damage can be long lasting. However, in spite of the clear public health threat, it does present an opportunity for all of us to peel back all of the excuses that have been made in the past for why things cannot be done. I am happy to report that in Barbados, we have been able to make significant strides in very key areas.”
Straughn expressed the view that Barbados and the rest of the region must adopt a permanent transformative posture, saying their survival depended on their capacity to chart a clear path forward.
He urged public servants and citizens in the Caribbean to be committed to this transformation process.
He suggested that for the foreseeable future, the public sector would have to carry a significant burden in regional economies.
“Therefore, the more efficient and slender our approach may be and the more effective we can be, the greater the impact we will have on the private economy, and the rest of our citizens will be able to recover faster from the current situation,” he said.
The Minister in the Ministry of Finance said Government was working with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados and other figures on several key areas of the public sector’s transformation initiative.
He pointed, for example, to ongoing corporate governance training for boards of directors and executive managers across state-owned enterprises. (BT/BGIS)