The announcement was made on 10th May, 2011 while the Prime Minister was delivering his Budget presentation in Parliament, during which he noted that the 118,163 people on government’s payroll would be reduced to between 108,000 and 109,000 over the next five years. This, as was explained, is expected to result in as much as J$50 billion or US$590.6 million in savings.
“In implementing these changes, close consultation will be maintained with public sector unions to minimise as far as possible the effects of the dislocation to the affected employees where this cannot be avoided,” he said.
Golding explained that although 5,137 persons above the age of 60 are now due for retirement, and there are another 12,800 people between the ages of 50 and 55 who can retire without losing their pension benefits, retirement would not be enough to reach the targeted staff reduction since some of the posts retirees leave empty will have to be filled.
“Where persons retire from positions that can be eliminated in that rationalisation exercise those positions will not be filled. However, some of those who will retire will have to be replaced, especially in vital areas such as education, health services and security,” he said.
He also disclosed that functions carried out by some government ministries, departments and agencies will be outsourced and privatized and government will make every effort to assist displaced workers to use the opportunity to provide those services where possible.
In total, 21 entities are to be merged, 13 privatised, services currently provided by 20 others outsourced and seven abolished.
The Prime Minister said all these measures would result in a J$40 billion (US$472.5 million) to J$50 billion (US$590.6 million) reduction in government spending.
“These savings will come primarily from staff reduction and the disposal of assets arising from the privatization and outsourcing of certain functions. Even greater benefit is expected from improved efficiency and productivity,” he told Parliament.
Meantime, the Prime Minister has countered Opposition claims that 100,000 Jamaicans had lost their jobs since the recession in 2008. He told his colleagues that statistics show the figure stood at 58,000.
(Major portions of this article were incorporated from a Caribbean360 report)