February 26th, 2018 Grand Coastal Hotel, ECD
Hon. Joseph Harmon MSM, M.P.
Minister of State
Mr. Tarachand Balgobin, Director of the Project Cycle Management Division, Ministry of Finance- Chairman, Mr. Reginald Graham; Consultant Coordinator, Caribbean Development Bank; Dr. Modeste- Chief Planning Officer, Permanent Secretaries, Regional Executive Officers and Heads of Agencies, Members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen. I wish to welcome you all on behalf of the Hon. Minister of Finance who was scheduled to this presentation, but is out of the jurisdiction at this time, to this opening ceremony of The Public Policy Analysis Management and Project Cycle Management Training Programme that is being conducted by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank. I am also pleased to be associated with this activity since the Ministry of the Presidency has responsibility for the Public Service including the training of Public Servants.
I must also congratulate the participants in this programme for having been selected; for having completed the online aspects of the course work, and for now being involved in the face to face workshops to complete training.
Your participation as the decision makers and senior technicians within the Public Sector in this programme that has been designed to suit our local circumstances will no doubt buttress our Government’s continuous efforts to effectively disburse and expend Government funds and execute programmes and Projects through the Public Sector Improvement Programme (PSIP), the management of which you will be expected to improve. Additionally, your new skills will be acquired at a time when Government is set to “Roll Out” several innovative projects through its Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) that are crucial for the sustainable development of Guyana.
I also wish to express gratitude, on behalf of the Government of Guyana to the Caribbean Development Bank for choosing Guyana as one of the three Caribbean countries to participate in this pilot training programme. Guyana’s Public Sector Improvement Programme (PSIP) is largely funded by international donor agencies like the Caribbean Development Bank, an institution with which Guyana has enjoyed productive and progressive relationship since becoming a member in 1970. This developmental partnership has seen Guyana benefitting from many loans and grants, administered through the Ministry of Finance. These funds are usually aimed at Social and Economic Infrastructural Projects such as Schools, Public Buildings, Roads and Water Projects; Providing Community Skills Training; and Support for Small and Medium sized Enterprises. The facilitation of training programmes such as these is a further form of much needed assistance to our developmental efforts.
Mr. Chairman, this activity is most welcomed because it is in keeping with our Government’s commitment to the creation of a highly skilled, professional public service and to build the capacity of our human capital. We believe that the Political Administration should set the Policy framework by conceptualizing policies for development and allowing the professional administrators and technicians to analyze, design and implement those policies to ensure maximum benefits to our citizenry and value for money.
Guided by this philosophy, President David Granger on August 17th, 2015 appointed a Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service, “To examine, advise and report on the Salaries, Conditions of Service, Training and other matters pertaining to the improvement of the efficiency of the performance of the Public service and the well-being of the public servants in the Public Service”. In the Commission’s report the entire Chapter 3 was dedicated to “Training and Staff Development”. This Chapter embodies a comprehensive analysis of the training needs of the Public Service. It is now public knowledge that the Commission has completed its work and the Government has embarked upon several initiatives to institutes the recommendations made in the report. That process is benefitting from the input of many of the participants here today.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to iterate that this training initiative is of significant importance to the Government of Guyana Public Service Reform Agenda, given the important role that the Public Service plays in implementing Government policies and delivering Government services to our people. However, we have inherited several challenges as it relates to the implementation of Government Polices, Programmes and Projects. Some of these challenges include monies being allocated under the Public Sector Improvement Programme (PSIP), which is the Government’s main mechanism for capital spending. In 2015 and 2016 significant sums allocated for developmental projects were not efficiently disbursed. Several contracts were poorly administered and some have had to be “Rolled-Over” or put on hold. There was also evidence that some of the Heads of Budget agencies within the Ministries were unfamiliar with the new procurement system.
This has prompted cabinet to initiative regular statutory meetings with Permanent Secretaries and Technical Officers from the Ministry of Finance to ensure efficient disbursement of Public Sector Improvement Programme (PSIP) funds and effective Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects.
At the most recent meeting with the Permanent Secretaries and Technical Officers held in January 2018, a review of spending for 2017, and discussions about work plans for 2018 was conducted. The review included an overall analysis of the Public Sector Improvement Programme spending for 2017; and project execution rates in 2017.
The review revealed that……..also coming out of that meeting was a work plan for 2018 which included: Preparation of Procurement plans for all agencies; a format for Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) monitoring reports; and a format for performance analyses. In addition, it was decided to provide compulsory training for relevant staff; and promote institutional strengthening. This included the establishment of Planning Units in all Ministries of Government
Mr. Chairman, this training initiative is yet another tangible indication of our Government’s commitment to: Improved Management of Public Finances; Timely implementation of Programmes and Projects; Greater Transparency and Accountability; Effective delivery of Public goods and services; Obtaining value for money; and efficient and effective allocation of our resources. Governments can have the most modern of Bureaucratic structures and the most advanced information and communications technology but without skilled human resources the delivery of Public Services will be ineffective.
In conclusion, I would like to once again thank the Caribbean Development Bank for partnering with us in support of this training programme, and to challenge each participant with the responsibility of giving his/her best to the information disseminated during the workshops.
It is now my distinct pleasure to declare this training programme on Public Policy Analysis Management and Project Cycle Management Training Programme officially opened.