Govt foresees significant advance in projects completion – Harmon

Some of the participants at the seminar (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

The Government foresees a significant improvement in the completion of public sector projects in 2018, Minister Joseph Harmon says, even as he noted that every public sector employee must improve their output to ensure a more efficient and effective public service.

According to a release from the Ministry of the Presidency (MoP),  Harmon was at the time speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday of this week’s Public Policy Analysis Management (PPAM) and Project Cycle Management (PCM) Training Programme 2018 – Face-To-Face Session, hosted by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), at the Grand Coastal Inn.

In his address to Heads of Budget Agencies, Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries,   Harmon said that based on a recent meeting with the heads of the various Ministries, Government is pleased with the progress being made on the implementation of projects in 2018.

“I am convinced that based on what I have seen for the programmes for 2018 that we are well underway to achieving those guidelines or those projects that have been identified by the Government.… so that we can ensure that quality service is provided to the people of Guyana,” the Minister was quoted as saying in the MoP press statement.

Harmon said that the Government had inherited several challenges as it related to the implementation of programmes and projects, which included the rollover of monies due to improper disbursement, poor administration of contracts, contracts being put on hold or rolled over, as well as, a lack of knowledge with regard to the new procurement system. Harmon said that the administration was prompted to take action to reverse the trend of the slow turnover rate for public sector projects to ensure that this did not become a norm.

“This… prompted Cabinet to initiate regular statutory meetings with Permanent Secretaries and Technical Officers from the Ministry of Finance to ensure efficient disbursal of Public Sector Improvement Programme (PSIP) funds and effective monitoring and evaluation of these projects. At our most recent meeting held in January 2018, I am pleased to say that based on the overall assessment, that there has been significant improvement in the performance of Ministries, Departments and Regional organisations with respect to their spending and with respect to their performance under the PSIP. This has been a remarkable turnaround and from 2015, 2016, and when we started meeting the Permanent Secretaries, and the Ministry of Finance Budget heads in 2017, almost within six months we would have seen a remarkable turnaround in the way in which we were approaching these matters,” the Minister of State was quoted, in the MoP release as saying.

In May 2017, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, had reported that only 20 percent of the country’s Public Sector Investment Programme had been implemented at that time despite the National Budget having been presented to the National Assembly in December 2016, the statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said.

Tarachand Balgobin, Director of the Project Cycle Management Division, Ministry of Finance, in his remarks, said that for some time now, challenges have been faced in the design and implementation of projects under the PSIP.

“We undertook to provide in field support to Permanent Secretaries, REOs, and Heads of Budget agencies. This took the form of what we term PSIP Clinics. To date we have PSIP Clinics at several Ministries including Public Infrastructure, Education, Agriculture, Security and we will continue in the new week to ensure we cover all Ministries…,” Balgobin was quoted in the MoP release as saying, while adding that policy decision making was necessary for timely achievements of projects.

Reginald Graham, Consultant Coordinator of the CDB, in his remarks said that the aim is to train at least 200 public officials in Guyana so that they can return and apply it in their Ministries and Agencies. Following this phase of training, Graham added that there is a Training of the Trainer component to ensure that there is a sustainability of the programme in the public service.

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