Feb 18, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Spending within the Public Service Ministry will consistently be under the microscope. According to the Minister that sits at its helm, Sonia Parag, she intends on holding her employees accountable for “every dollar that is spent”.
Parag made this pronouncement on the “Budget in Focus” programme which was aired last Tuesday. The Minister stated that the PPP administration would have campaigned heavily on accountability and transparency and therefore every effort will be made to practice what was preached.
According to Parag, President Irfaan Ali would have committed to having his administration extend accountability and be held accountable to the public. As such, the Minister said that she plans on keeping that promise by holding the public servants in her Ministry accountable.
Further, Parag stressed the need for the development of a code of conduct and code of ethics within the public service. “When you have professionality…or professionalism, you will have transparency, you will have that accountability,” Parag said.
By transforming her own Ministry, and not just her Ministry, but the rules that govern the public service in terms of code of ethics and code of conduct, Parag believes this can contribute to holding persons or public offices accountable.
Parag also noted that the employee management system that was supposed to start last year, under provisions made in the emergency budget, has not yet implemented. “It was my idea to implement this right away, however, I thought it best (that) myself and a team from the Attorney General Chambers and very soon the relevant stakeholders will be included in that discussion, but we want to implement that as a section in the revised public service rules,” she added.
Kaieteur News was informed that the employee management system was set to be a guide for best practices in the public service. However, it will no longer be a guide, but a rule, meaning that the provisions in that statement will be mandatory. “You will be held accountable; there are consequences to the breach of any of those rules. And performance management system is what? It is not simply when someone is coming to renew a contract or asking for a promotion that you automatically just produce a document giving an evaluation or an analysis of that person’s performance,” Parag said during the programme.
Minister Parag added that it is something that will continue year-round, and the employees may not know when it is coming or there may be a specific period where an evaluation may be done, coming out of that assessment. In light of that, she believes that an improvement in performance in the public service will be seen.
She also acknowledged the improvement in the conduct of persons in the public service thus far. According to the Minister, they are taking a deeper interest in the way they present themselves and the way that they represent their respective ministries.
Additionally, on the topic of public spending, Parag said, “Who wouldn’t want to save in one area where you can? These are taxpayer dollars that are spent at the end of the day and no person out there who is paying taxes wants to know that their money is being squandered.” If this occurs, she said, persons would expectedly feel violated and exploited.
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