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Saturday 16 December 2017

Henry: Focus on performance-based budgeting

Trinidad and Tobago needs a “radical reorgnisation” of the public service and a focus on “performance-based budgeting”, economist Dr Ralph Henry advised yesterday.

“That will turn the tide against the absolute inefficiency that we have in so many areas of our public service. There are many hard working public servants — don’t get me wrong — but we need to move to (performance-based budgeting),” said Henry.

He noted the last budget exercise “seemed to suggest that we are starting to move in that direction” as he recalled that questions were being asked of the achievements in the previous year of Government ministries that were requesting a certain amount of money.

“And those are the questions that need to be asked and I think that many agencies, many institutions felt themselves under the gun because the questions came that they could not answer,” he said.

Henry stressed that performance-based budgeting was necessary where “before we spend, we know what is to be expected” and that what is happening or not is monitored quarterly.

He was responding to questions yesterday at the Industrial Court “Meet With the Court Symposium 3: The Road to Social Justice” at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

Henry, in his earlier address, at the event, noted that if TT was to move towards a diversified economy which was no longer reliant on oil and gas then oil and gas must be taken out of the picture and “and see where we are as a society and a country”.

He also advised that TT needs to buy more “from ourselves” and from the region as this would stimulate the local and regional economies.

Questioned about the impact of the United States shale oil and gas, Henry said TT must look at new technologies such as solar energy which will come into play over the next few years. He said electric systems driven by solar energy were happening locally and in the Caribbean “because they have to”. He noted that 30 per cent of foreign exchange of Caribbean governments have gone to purchasing oil and gas “so they have to make that switch”. He said once this switch happens, which is being done by the Eastern Caribbean and the rest of the world, “we can have our oil and drink it”.

Last week the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has launched the first solar charge station for cellular phones at the Piarco International Airport and they have plans to install the stations at Gulf City mall, the Boardwalk in Chaguaramas and Maracas Bay.


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