Gonsalves about to trim the civil service?

Gonsalves: Contemplating cuts in the SVG Civil Service?

By the beginning of 2012, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr Ralph Gonsalves will announce significant cuts in the civil service of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Several persons will be terminated as part of the cost saving measures that the PM has been forced to implement in response to the declining economy and  worsening fiscal situation.

Over the past few years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the PM have been locked in a veritable battle over the fiscal strategies that are necessary to the country back on an even keel relative to the current fiscal imbalances. Indeed, the IMF has been sounding the alarm bells about the ballooning deficit arising out of the  the decline in revenues and the accompanying protracted increases in expenditure.

Among the factors said to be responsible the excessive spending, is the huge wage bill with which the government is saddled.  Indeed, wages, salaries and other personal emoluments are way in excess of the benchmark 50 % of recurrent expenditure normally acceptable for states such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  This is due largely to an oversized workforce in the public sector. The situation is no longer sustainable.  Hence, the IMF may have recommended sharp and deep cuts in the public service.

A reduction in the size of government’s wage bill, is just one of the many measures that may lead to stabilization of the fiscal situation. However, Gonsalves is deathly afraid of pursuing this course of action.  Pruning the civil service may be fiscally prudent but for Gonsalves it is tantamount to political suicide!

One may recall that Gonsalves did charge that if the NDP had won the elections, that administration led by economist Arnhim Eustace would have downsized the civil service in response to IMF dictates. As fate would have it, it Gonsalves himself who is now face with the prospect of bow to pressure from the IMF and cut the numbers in the civil service.

The Budgetary  Estimates  will be brought to Parliament on December 13, 2011. However, the Appropriation Bill or Budget will be present sometime in January 2012. It is at that juncture hat Vincentians should expect to hear about the cost cutting measures, including massive lay offs in the public sector.

Then again, the IMF is a schizophrenic organization. So, I am betting that Gonsalves will refuse to follow the dictates of an organization that functions as if it is afflicted by a severe mental disorder!

E. A. Ballantyne

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by L. Sutton on December 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Beach Snr; Beach Jnr; Renee; Al Alex; Nicole; Susan Dugan; Haly Dugan;


  2. Posted by Home boy on November 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    That can “NEVER” happen under a Labour Government. Our PM will “NEVER”bow to I.M.F nor the dictates of Washington. Our PM is of a decolonized mentality. Or so he says !!


  3. Posted by KS784 on November 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Not only is the IMF “schizophrenic” but SVG “is not a colony of the IMF”. Don’t be surprised of elections in December or January because will want all of this to fall on the NDP.


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