Programme Budgeting Training For Public Officers

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Some public officers will soon be given the opportunity to sharpen their technical skills and receive valuable assistance in preparing the 2016 Estimates.

This help will come in the form of a series of workshops to be hosted by The Productivity Council, aimed at improving public sector budgeting and accountability.

Six two-day training sessions will be held from May 6 and 7 to June 10 and 11, and public officers interested in attending should immediately call the Council at 626-9416.

Senior Economist at The Productivity Council, Olivia Chase-Smith, said the workshops were designed to introduce officials in the public sector to the tools of Programme Budgeting and Strategic Planning, which she described as a critical component to the budgeting process.

Mrs. Chase-Smith disclosed that governments across the world were turning to programme budgeting, which is a popular methodology used in the performance management arsenal.

???It is simply a tool adopted by governments to rationalise public spend on projects and programmes. In other words, programme budgeting seeks to determine whether the allocated funds were spent efficiently; if the programmes or services continue to meet a public need; and if the public is satisfied with that programme or service.

???It is also a means of introducing accountability and responsibility into ministries and departments for monies spent to deliver social and economic development,??? she explained.??The Senior Economist pointed out that this new system of expenditure management was based on three distinct pillars.

She identified them as: spending must be directly correlated to transparent results and outcomes; greater discipline must be applied to new projects to control and or contain any unexpected increases in spending; and strategic programming is adopted as a means of ensuring association with national priorities and development goals.

Underscoring the importance of the workshops, Mrs. Chase-Smith said that exercising prudence with one???s hard-earned money was a learned and lifelong skill, and was critical to the successful management of personal finances.

???This task is even more important when the subject matter is the best use of public taxpayer funds and concerns all governments. Given the prolonged low-keyed domestic economic performance, this places the earning and spending of public funds under even greater scrutiny, and raises its level of importance in national discussion. There is a greater expectation of what Government can and should do to maintain or improve the standard of living in Barbados,??? she stressed.

The theme of the Programme Budgeting Workshops, which have been held for the past three years, is: I Commit to Paying my Part in Revolutionising the Barbados Public Sector.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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