There are four (4) new initiatives in the 2018 Estimates
- The Ministerial portfolio changes announced in 2017 are reflected in these Estimates.
The Ministry of Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, etc is now subsumed under the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Information Technology.
The portfolios of Labour and Industry have been transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries, Industry and Labour.
The portfolio of Information now falls under the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Information. A new programme called Public Information Services was established for this portfolio.
The API and subvention to NBC are consolidated under this programme.
- The responsibility for Postal Services has been transferred to the Ministry of Transport, Works, Local Government and Postal Services;
- Under the Ministry of Education, budgetary provisions have been made to pay a total of 103 Graduate teachers who have been appointed across the Primary and Secondary levels with effect from January 1st It must be noted that the implementation of this initiative did not result in an increase in the number of teachers on the establishment or placed an undue burden on the budget. In fact the total number of teachers within the system declined marginally by twenty-two (22), a mere 1.2 percent. Similarly, the estimated cost to the consolidated fund for this measure inclusive of increments for all teachers is $1.5 million. We were able to achieve this by doing the following:
- Utilising the savings from existing budgetary provisions at the Grades F and E level, where Teacher IV and Teacher V are paid, to fund some of the new Graduate Teachers that were appointed; and
- Trading-off lower grade teaching positions, such as Teacher I and II that were vacant, for the additional Graduate Teacher positions.
- All temporary clerks, a total sixty-four (64), previously paid by the Service Commission vote, have been confirmed as Junior Clerks and their salaries have been allocated to the various Ministries and Departments where they have been employed over the years.Hence, this decision has not resulted in an increase in the number of public servants and has had a minimal immediate impact on costs.
- Apart from the qualitative changes mentioned above, a total of ninety-eight (98) new positions have been created across the public service to enhance service delivery to the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Forty-six (46) additional posts have been allocated under the Ministry of National Security. The manpower of the Police Service has been increased by forty (40) Constables to ensure that we have sufficient boots on the ground to bolster our efforts to reduce crime. Also, five (5) additional Immigration Officers have been provided to strengthen the Department’s ability to properly service the travelling public at the AIA.
The Ministry Health and the Environment has been allocated thirty-five (35) posts to strengthen Hospital, Community Health and Mental Health Services.
Twelve (12) posts have been created within the Ministry of Finance mainly to enhance the capacity of the Customs and Excise Department to add another shift at the AIA to facilitate the processing of international passengers.