It has been suggested that incentivizing employees of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) could discourage them from engaging in corrupt practices.
Saying it was his “own personal opinion” Senior Economic Advisor to Government, Dr Kevin Greenidge recommended that incentives should replace harsh penalties handed down as a means of ensuring SOEs did what was required.
Dr Greenidge made it clear he was not referring to “downright criminal behaviour” but specifically to financial performance and reporting.
He made the comments during a recent panel discussion hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) entitled Accountability in a Time of Crisis held to celebrate Accountants’ Week 2021.
“I will say from my view point that it is better to incentivise people to comply and train them. I don’t think the SOEs’ leadership and management want not to comply. I think in almost all of the instances when it happened and we called it was an issue. We have inherited old systems, COVID came along, so there are different reasons and so starting from a premise that people would want to comply if you make it easy and simple and incentivise them, I personally believe – this is not Government’s view – that we should take the route of training, incentivising and helping persons by putting systems in place that they can comply,” Dr Greenidge said.
“I believe that everybody goes to work and wants to do right so coming down with the big stick should be the last thing in mind. I don’t necessarily agree that that should be the route, but like I said that is my opinion. The important thing is that the law allows for ways to enforce it.”
Dr Greenidge said long before the COVID-19 pandemic struck it was evident the public service had seen an exodus of skilled persons from its workforce.
He said Government was now trying to retool and retrain persons in the public sector.
“Since I came on board as an advisor a lot of skilled persons had exited the public service way before the BERT [Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation] Programme and so a lot of the persons that remained sometimes were not in a position or had the necessary tools or equipped with skills to do certain things, so when you say you have to do things by a certain time it takes time and it takes training.
“We are trying to rebuild a public sector in terms of skills and competency so therefore most of the time, almost 90 per cent of the time when an institution misses a deadline or when something wasn’t done it wasn’t malicious intent but simply because of a system error or the person didn’t understand, so this is where in my view training is much more effective in getting compliance and keeping compliance than the big stick approach,” Dr Greenidge noted. (RB)