Idris Jala confident ‘good things’ will come after new government’s transition phase

Malaysia’s new government is still “in the transition phase”, and it needs time to achieve the transformation it has set out to do, said Datuk Seri Idris Jala, President and Chief Executive Officer of PEMANDU Associates.

Image Source: The Edge Markets

“I think when you are a new government, especially in a country that had the one and same government for a very long period of time, there is always a process called transition.”

“You cannot have new beginnings unless you manage the endings [properly],” Idris commented when asked about the government’s transition progress here during an economics conversation organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI).

The transition has to be given time, said Idris, and he is “hopeful” that the government will deal with the process well and then be clear about its priorities, going forward.

“I am in no doubt that Malaysia is a country that is in transition, [and] only good things can come out [of] it. I am confident… but it requires [good] leadership,” Idris added.

On the trade front, Idris said the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, the US and China, will cause real pain for the world, including trading nations like Malaysia.

Already, slower growth is expected for the global economy amid China’s economic slowdown in the face of escalating trade tensions between the two countries.

“Malaysia is a trading nation. Our total trade (including export and import) is almost twice as large as our gross domestic products (GDP), therefore, we are exposed to the things happening in the global economy.

“Therefore, the one thing we can do, when we are a trading nation [is]: Competitiveness, competitiveness and competitiveness!” he stressed.

“When I say competitiveness, it means our product and services must be highly competitive. When you are not competitive, when the world’s economy contracts, countries will be selective when it comes to products and demand will be smaller,” he said.

Idris also called on the private sector to embrace the digital world to compete globally.

“You cannot just do brick and mortar. Put [your goods and services] out there at Alibaba, Amazon and ebay, then you will know [how] competitive [you are]. Every businessman must put their products and services on the digital platform, so you will know if you are competitive in price and functionality. You open the whole market — this is what people need to do,” Idris said.


Source: The Edge Markets

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“We will deliver to the People of Saint Lucia!”

Saint Lucia Prime Minister Honourable Allen M. Chastanet gave an extensive and passionate presentation to the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce on Thursday November 15th 2018 as he addressed a packed room of members of the local business sector. The broad discussion touched on a variety of areas including infrastructure, health care, education and economic development.

The Prime Minister began by updating the Chamber on current and proposed development projects for Saint Lucia, starting from the north to the south of the island. Among the projects: the planned expansion of major hotels in the Rodney Bay and Gros Islet area, new tourism projects for the Choc area, the expansion of Saint Lucia Distillers, the construction of the Fairmont Hotel in Choiseul and the DSH Pearl of the Caribbean Project. The Prime Minister also spoke to critical public sector projects such as the redevelopment of Hewanorra International Airport, the redevelopment of Castries, rehabilitation of road infrastructure, social programmes and efforts to address the nation’s security.

Photo credit: Saint Lucia Times

“We have come to an agreement with the Taiwanese Government who have agreed to lend us 100 million US dollars to be able to do that project,” explained the Prime Minister, while also adding that the loan is being supported by the airport development charge. An additional $50 Million will be borrowed from Taiwan for major upgrades of existing roads island-wide. The Prime Minister noted that the road rehabilitation charge on gasoline will also be used to service the loan.

When it came to health care, the Prime Minister updated the business community on plans for National Health Insurance, the strengthening of the nation’s primary health care facilities and the phased opening of the OK-EU hospital. With regard to the construction of the St. Jude Hospital the Prime Minister said the designs and the engineering drawings have been completed and funding has been secured for the proposed new wing.

“We are moving as fast as we possible can to rectify that situation,” PM Chastanet said following a recap of the immense missteps which had led the nation to this point. “We know the challenges that exist at the stadium and we are working with the staff as best as we possibly can to make them as comfortable as possible, but we recognize and understand the frustration by both the people who are working there, as well as the citizens who have to depend on it. The fact is we have to do things the right way and I can assure all Saint Lucians that you will be very proud of the development. I am comfortable that once you have all the financing, you have the design completed and you have a great company doing the implementation that you should not see a repeat of what happened the last five years.

The Prime Minister also said that the Government tackling issues concerning the pace of the implementation of programmes and projects and has engaged the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), which was set up by Malaysia, to assist Saint Lucia in that regard. PEMANDU will be focused on six key areas of Agriculture, Tourism, Infrastructure, Health, Education and Social Development.

Key indicators in the economy have been encouraging, said the Prime Minister, noting that tourism continues to show signs of growth and consumption and economic activity is on the rise.

“We have already seen that with the reduction of the Value Added Tax rate of 12.5 percent we are currently collecting slightly more money than we were collecting when we were at 15 percent,” said PM Chastanet. “So mathematically that tells you that the turnover in the economy is absolutely there.”

Also encouraging, said the Prime Minister, was growth in the Information Technology sector which has seen the creation of 2000 new jobs. He singled out the expansion of KM2 and OJO Labs. The Prime Minister also spoke about the National Apprenticeship Programme and the partnership with Monroe College which will see hundreds of Saint Lucian young people receive hands on hospitality training.

“We continue on course and I am very encouraged,” said the Prime Minister about overall development. “The amount of money that is about to start flowing into this economy and the investment that we are going to be making into the infrastructure of this country . . . there is a lot of work taking place on the ground and we are moving. What we are focused on is developing this country, improving the physical capacity, improving the human capacity and improving the bureaucratic capacity of this country.

“We have been able to attract a record amount of new investment to come into this country. We have taken our time to be responsible and ensure the EIAs are done and we follow the law and to make sure it is going to benefit every Saint Lucian,” noted PM Chastanet, who also highlighted support to local entrepreneurs through the St Lucia Development Bank, training opportunities for young people, development and reenergizing of youth programmes. “We are calm, cool, collected and focused and we will deliver to the people of Saint Lucia.”

As he closed his presentation, which included questions from the attendees, PM Chastanet explained that the plan of Building a New Saint Lucia where all can benefit is the priority.


Source: Saint Lucia Times

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Industry 4.0 Blueprint on readiness assessment finalised, says Miti

The Industry 4.0 Blueprint or Industry4WRD assessment guidelines to assess manufacturing companies’ readiness for Industry 4.0 has been finalised. It shall be implemented in the screening of 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) early next year.

(From left) PEMANDU Associates Executive Vice President Yong Yoon Kit, MITI investment policy and trade facilitation senior director Faizal Mohd Yusof, HLIB head of dealing, SVP & institutional business Datuk Zunaidah Idris, Hong Leong Stock Broking chief operating officer Kwek Kon Chow, and Malaysia Automotive Institute chairman Datuk Phang Ah Tong at the BURSA – HLIB Stratum focus series VII: Industry 4.0.
(Photo credit: The Star Online)

International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) investment policy and trade facilitation senior director Faizal Mohd Yusof said the Industry 4.0 readiness assessment shall provide a better understanding of the current state of SMEs, in terms of technology adoption.

“It is good to gauge the level of industrial revolution of manufacturing companies in Malaysia. The government will then be able to decide on the direction of facilitating Industry 4.0 adoption for SMEs, and see where it can intervene by allocating funding or incentives,” he said.

He was speaking at the Bursa Malaysia-Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Stratum Focus Seminar series VII themed “Industry 4.0: Humanising Machines, Disrupting Economies”.


The readiness assessment, which will be conducted by Malaysian Productivity Corp, is part of the Budget 2019 measures to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0.

A sum of RM210mil has been allocated from 2019 to 2021 to support this programme.

The guidelines of the assessment were established based on a pilot study of 22 companies.

Meanwhile, the readiness assessment guidelines for the manufacturing-related services sector is being prepared and targeted for implementation in the second quarter of 2019.

According to PEMANDU Associates Executive Vice President Yong Yoon Kit, Malaysian manufacturing companies that have adopted Industry 4.0 practices were found to perform 26% better than their peers that did not have a digital strategy.

“However, Malaysia’s manufacturing sector is still averaging at Industry 2.5, which lies between the utilisation of electricity and automation in mass production,” said Yong.

Industry 4.0 entails the convergence of physical systems and IT, assisted with dynamic data processing.

Under Budget 2019, the government has allocated some RM5bil to help businesses adopt Industry 4.0 practices.

This entails an allocation of RM2bil under the Business Loan Guarantee Scheme (SJPP) as well as a RM3bil Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund.

The government provides guarantees of up to 70% under the SJPP to incentivise SMEs to invest in automation and modernisation.

As for the Industry Digitalisation Transformation Fund, there is a subsidised interest rate of 2% under Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd to accelerate the adoption of smart technology such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.


By Toh Kar Inn
Source: The Star Online

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Government of Saint Lucia calls for projects under the key result areas of tourism and agriculture

Honourable Guy Joseph, Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation launched Saint Lucia’s Social and Economic Labs.

The lab methodology is a new approach which the government is undertaking to develop and deliver on the Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) for 2019-2022, with the aim to achieve an inclusive and sustainable Saint Lucia by 2022. This project is supported by the Caribbean Development Bank through a Technical Assistance Loan to the Government of Saint Lucia.

The process began in April 2018, when Saint Lucia’s Cabinet and senior officials from the public service, together with representatives from the private sector, prioritised six (6) Key Results Areas (KRAs) to focus on. The six KRAs comprise three (3) Economic KRAs, which are Tourism, Agriculture and Infrastructure, and three (3) Social KRAs, which are Healthcare, Education and Crime. Collectively, these sectors represent some of the most important areas that impact the lives of every Saint Lucian.

The Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation is the lead sponsor for the labs, and the Government of Saint Lucia is fully committed to the labs.

Phase 1 of this process is the lab phase, which will take place from 19 November to 14 December. During this phase, the labs will identify issues and opportunities, prioritise solutions and develop detailed implementation plans for execution over the next four years. The labs will involve participation of all key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and the output of the labs will be detailed implementation programmes as well as budget requirements to run the projects and initiatives identified, in order to achieve the aims of the Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS) 2019-2022.

After the completion of Phase 1, i.e. the lab phase, Phase 2 will commence in January 2019 and will involve the establishment of a Delivery Unit within the Government of Saint Lucia. This unit’s role will be to oversee, coordinate and drive implementation of the plans developed within the labs leading delivery of the prioritized goals across all six KRAs. Ultimately, the Delivery Unit’s mandate will be to manage performance and drive accountability as well as to support implementing ministries and agencies in delivering concrete results that improve the lives of our citizens.

To assist in successful delivery of this new methodology, the Government will be working closely with two leading international consultancies, which are Delivery Associates and PEMANDU Associates. These two firms have worked with Governments around the world to improve their effectiveness at delivering real, measurable outcomes for their citizens. The Government of Saint Lucia is excited to partner with them over the next 15 months.

As part of the labs, the Government of Saint Lucia is putting out a call for projects under the Economic Key Results Areas of Tourism and Agriculture.

The project areas under the Tourism KRA are international hotel brands interested in investing in Saint Lucia, cruise operators looking to make Saint Lucia a home port, Health and Wellness Tourism, Village Tourism and Eco Tourism.

The project areas under the Agriculture KRA are production of foods as a means of import substitution, food processing projects, production of high value, high yield crops that encourage crop diversification and production of staple crops.


By Government Information Service
Source: Saint Lucia News Online


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Youth employment in Ethiopia

At the initiation of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Big Win Philanthropy is developing a partnership with the Ethiopian government to create 1 million quality jobs for young people.

With a large and rapidly growing youth population, generating productive youth employment is an urgent priority for Ethiopia to improve young people’s lives, build social stability and realize the potential economic benefit of a demographic dividend. Seventy per cent of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 30, and by 2020 13 million young people will be seeking jobs. To add to the challenge, many of those who are in work are not earning enough to lift themselves out of poverty.

The partnership will aim to create quality jobs – skilled, secure, and with decent pay and conditions. There are many challenges to employment creation, including a mismatch between the skills of young people and employment opportunities, the availability of basic infrastructure, the availability of investment and the need for coordination between different government sectors.

An important element of success of national and regional employment initiatives is the multisectoral leadership and collaboration required to address systemic labour market challenges, identify areas where cross-cutting consensus is required, and champion innovative approaches. In Ethiopia, this will involve exploring new opportunities for diversifying long-term economic growth in sectors with the best potential to create quality jobs such as health, ICT, agri-business, aviation, and tourism while promoting innovation and entrepreneurship so that the government’s efforts are sustainable.

Youth employment is a top priority for Ethiopia’s new government and will now be championed by H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to ensure alignment of cross-sectoral efforts at the highest political level. In parallel with this national political alignment, the Oromia region will be utilized as a demonstration model for other regions in the country, with work undertaken over a one year period to “unlock” over 1,300 stalled projects which have the potential to create 455,000 jobs.

The initial phase of the partnership will launch with a high-level workshop led by Pemandu Associates and will focus on aligning the program around definitions of “quality jobs”, dealing with issues such as levels of remuneration, stability of employment and working conditions. Pemandu is a consultancy that grew out of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office in Malaysia, and is credited with having played a major role in the successful Malaysian experience of creating employment opportunities for young people.

By Big Win Philanthropy

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Reinforcing ERGP with Malaysian economic model

As Nigeria’s economic blueprint, Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is yet to register accelerated impact on the economy, the Federal Government is introducing a Malaysian model to strengthen the process.

In the hay days of economic recession, egg heads in government got cracking with workable ideas as all manner of theories were canvassed and tested.

At a time, it was suggested by local experts that the surest way for government to spend her way out of the recession should be to put money in citizens’ pockets as well as paying up backlog of debts owed local and multinational contractors.

Experts and government think tanks drew a long list of exit routes from the trap. One of the strategies adopted was to launch the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).


ERGP as growth panacea

The ERGP is government’s adopted economic blueprint for retooling the economy from its knee-jerk position occasioned by recession. Launched in April 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari, ERGP is a comprehensive medium-term plan structured to run from 2017 to 2020.

The document was a product of extensive collaboration between leading players in private and public sectors.

There were series of stakeholders’ sessions held with members of the National Assembly, leading technocrats, members of the academia at different zones to brainstorm with a view to coming out with an economic blueprint. It was targeted at beyond merely getting the economy out of recession. Paramountly, it seeks to amongst others, put the economy on path of strong and very diversified footing.

After almost 11 months of its debut as a major economic package of the current administration, the impact of ERGP is yet to be pragmatically felt on the economy as envisaged.

The challenge with infrastructure remains a huge drawback. The roads across the country are still more of death traps. This largely remains a bottleneck inhibiting free movement of goods. Finished goods can’t be moved on time from point of production to where they are needed. Manufacturers are still confronted with legion of problems – higher tariffs and epileptic power supply.

These and more go into production cost and are invariably passed on to end consumers. Job opportunities, which ERGP envisages to be provided, are yet to manifest at the rate it could impact positively on the economy.


Malaysian model

Determined to make best use of good packages contained in ERGP, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the implementation organ of ERGP, has come up with ‘Focus Labs’ to accelerate implementation of ERGP, an idea borrowed from Malaysia.

It is designed to quicken implementation of ERGP. Addressing the media last week in Abuja, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, explained what Focus Labs stood for. He said that process is one of the several initiatives by government to fast-track the attainment of ERGP objectives.

According to the details, the labs will be conducted initially in three strategic sectors: Agriculture and transportation, power and gas, manufacturing and processing (including solid minerals). “The objective is to align with the private sector on the projects that offer the most catalytic impact on investment and job creation and develop plans to implement them.

“Government is committed to addressing any inter-agency problems that could hinder or slow down investment, so as to stimulate interest amongst investors in investing in Nigeria,” Udoma said.

Shedding lights on it, he said the labs would identify projects, which will drive catalytic growth that “will contribute in increasing private investments and create new jobs for Nigerians (Entry Point Projects or EPPs).

“Develop clear implementation plans for each EPP with identified budget, key individuals responsible for these activities and accountable lead ministers along with key performance indicators,” he explained.

“Breakdown silos to harness private-public partnerships, align stakeholders to execute the plans, and build trust and credibility between the public and private sectors.

“Over the last seven weeks, the ERGP implementation team have been working to map and understand the projects that exist across six core sectors of the economy and the stakeholders involved. “This includes asking the private sector to submit project details to the implementation unit for review.

The outcome of this process has been the identification of potential Entry Point Projects which investors and the government can review and discuss over the coming weeks.”

The minister said the consultant is just for the pilot phase of the programme after which Nigerians will take over.

“They will help us and bring their international connections, reach and give it credibility. It is for $500,000 per lab,” Mr. Udoma said.

He also said the key objectives of the labs are to identify all relevant key players from the public and private sector that are crucial in the delivery and implementation of the ERGP initiative “so as to create ownership early on in the development process.”

He said the labs will review and re-evaluate the ERGP and sectoral plans against set targets and progress and will also identify gaps in the current eco system and the key success factors. “We will further deliver detailed three phase line by line implementation activities.

We will identify entry point of projects, we will identify key performance indicators, breaking down silos and encourage key players.” The minister said the focus of the lab is to mobilise private sector investment to finance specific capital projects. “As you know public resources are limited, so these labs will bring in private sector players.

“We will look at the various areas including infrastructure, manufacturing and bring them in and mobilise private sector financing and resources for the labs.

“So what council has approved today is that we bring in some consultants who did a similar thing in Malaysia to try to help us build our own capacity, they will just help us at the beginning and after that we will take over and do it ourselves,” he said.


Tapping into Malaysian experience

The government is borrowing a leaf from Malaysia, an Asian country said to have made success of Focus Labs.

To secure the buy-in of National Assembly, Head of the Malaysian Performance Management Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), Dr Idris Jala, briefed the leadership of the National Assembly on the Malaysian experience, and indicated that the Malaysian economic history had a lot of semblance with the Nigerian experience.

He said at a point the Malaysian economy took a downward turn and he had to warn that unless there was a fundamental way of managing the economy, the country would go bankrupt. He recommended transformational leadership at all levels, which entailed taking actions that may be painful in the short term but beneficial in the long run to the people.

He said that Malaysia also used the lab process with great success as a tool for the transformation of its economy.


Last line

It is true that the economy is out of recession but still very much in a recovery mode, struggling to deepen its feet. For ERGP to fulfil one of its objectives, which is to restore growth to a positive path and sustain it to, at least, seven per cent by 2020, all hands must be on deck.


by Abdulwahab Isa
Source: New Telegraph

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Nigeria: ERGP – NEPC Mulls Malaysian Model to Support Exports

As the federal government intensifies effort to diversify the economy, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has advocated the possibility of adapting the Malaysian model as part of strategic collaboration to promote Nigeria’s export trade.

The Acting Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Mr. Sidi-Aliyu Abdullahi, disclosed this yesterday while receiving in his office a delegation from Performance Monitoring and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), a trade promotion organ under the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Mr. Sidi-Aliyu, while noting that the nation’s food import bill was high, stated that the key objective of the Zero Oil Plan (ZOP) initiative of NEPC was to reduce imports by scaling-up production in key sectors of the non-oil export as well as stimulate value addition, job and wealth creation along export value chains.

In a statement signed by NEPC Head of Communications, Joe Ita and sent to THISDAY, Sidi-Aliyu disclosed that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) further complements the ZOP initiative as it is now an integral component of the ERGP with particular emphasis on boosting supply of foreign exchange from non-oil sectors by driving growth in five key areas.

These, he said, are concentration on generating US$30billion from 11 strategic products, exploring the competences within the comparative and competitive advantages of States through One State One Product (OSOP) programme, Revenue of Trade Agreements to prioritise Nigerian exports to 22 newly targeted Export destinations, Domestic sourcing of products through launch of first National Export Aggregator and Strengthening of Export Development Fund (EDF) scheme to enhance competiveness of locally produced goods.

The host and leader of the delegation Dr. Effiong Essien, Senior Special Assistant to the President (ERGP Implementation) disclosed that the federal government in collaboration with PEMANDU has established Focused Labs to specifically identify three quick-win sectors, namely: agriculture and transport, manufacturing and processing, power and gas.

Speaking in the same vein, Arlene Teo, of PEMANDU Associates said the approach is a proven tool aimed at allowing organisations and governments to achieve results as well as work closely with the highest level of government and top executives to help deliver their national and business objectives in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

“Our approach in driving and delivering transformation enables both our public and private sector clients to develop clear strategic direction, which is then, translated into detailed implementation programmes with quantifiable outcomes, and progress effectively communicated to their stakeholders,” he added.

He said the main thrust of their visit was to identify areas of cooperation with the council as well as share the Malaysian experience with a view to improving the volume, quality and standards of Nigeria’s exportable products.

PEMANDU’s main role and objective is to oversee the implementation, assess the progress, facilitate as well as support the delivery and drive the progress of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

By Jonathan Eze

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Private sector complains that Stuart administration is on pause

Although Barbados has not been hit by any major hurricanes so far this Altantic season, the head of this country’s private sector today complained that the country was effectively on pause, with the Freundel Stuart administration seemingly on “hurricane watch”.

Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert levelled the charge while addressing the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados’ (CTUSAB) Midterm Delegates’ Conference at Courtyard by Marriott.

He explained that it had been two months since the island’s major trade unions and over 20,000 of their constituent members joined with the BPSA in staging “the largest protest ever seen in Barbados” with a view to having meaningful economic dialogue with Government on averting a possible national financial crisis.

The demand came in the face of Government’s introduction of a $542 million tax package that was aimed at closing a $537 million fiscal deficit.

However, the Stuart administration has been under pressure from opposition parties, trade unions, the business community as well as ordinary residents to roll back an increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which moved from two per cent to ten per cent on July 1.

But while lamenting that no firm action had been taken since then, Herbert today warned that major disaster was indeed imminent, but not of the form that Barbadians were expecting.

“We huddle in small groups around our radios for the next update to see if ‘God is still a Bajan’ and the hurricane will once again turn north and spare Barbados from its worst.

“However, comrades, this financial hurricane is not an act of God, but is subject to our control through united action and intervention,” Herbert warned, adding that “we do not have to sit startled in the headlights until we are struck”.

The private sector spokesman recalled that Jamaica and Grenada faced similar crises over the past four to six years, but said unlike Barbados, their leaders had decided to act. As a result, he said both countries had reported progress and were able to raise hopes as a result of united and affirmative domestic action.

Herbert, who participated in this week’s Caribbean Leadership and Transformational Forum, which was hosted here by the Caribbean Development Bank, noted that the focus was on how aspirational policies could be translated into action and results.

At that meeting, Herbert said he was privileged to hear former Malaysia cabinet minister Dato Sri Idris Jala speak on how he assisted his government in turning policies into action, resulting in the creation of over two million new jobs, a dramatic reduction in poverty and expansion of private sector investment — all resulting in the gradual reduction of fiscal deficits and national debt.

Herbert also pointed out that Jala, who served as the chief executive officer of his country’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit from 2009 until 2015, had assisted several other countries in the implementation and delivery of their transformational policies while suggesting that Barbados could do with such expertise.

“Jala is in Barbados because his team is available to work with Barbados and other Caribbean nations that have the courage to embrace a call to action and transformation. I found Jala to be inspirational and his methods to be sound and proven. I hope that Barbados will seize this opportunity and embrace this call,” the business leader said.

He recalled that when Barbados faced a similar financial crisis in the early 1990s the Government of the day had collaborated with the social partners and averted a financial crisis, adding that the country went forward to enjoy a period of growth and prosperity.

However, comparing yesteryear and today, Herbert lamented that “the [current] Social Partnership so far has failed to find the cohesion that it did in the 1990s to unite the social partners in an agreed set of policies, designed to avert the crisis and set us back on a prosperous path”.

Just yesterday, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler suggested that Barbadians had a lot to be thankful for, not because God is a Bajan, but because they did not have to suffer the “sheer misery” others were experiencing as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria which have devastated several countries in the northern Caribbean leaving a trail of suffering and deaths.

At the same time, Sinckler defended his most recent tax package which was announced in his May 30 Budget.

In fact, he suggested that the taxes were necessary in order to provide services, including sanitation and public transportation, which is provided free of charge to students.

“Nobody likes to pay taxes. I don’t like to pay taxes myself, but I have to pay them because it is important for the development of the country,” he said in light of the NSRL hike, as well as increases in the excise duties on fuel, as well as a new two per cent tax on all foreign exchange transactions.

by Neville Clarke
Source: Barbados Today

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Maha cabinet nod for BFR method to improve work in govt depts

Mumbai, Sep 19 (PTI) The Maharashtra cabinet today approved a proposal to implement Big Fast Results (BFR) method by ‘PEMANDU’ (performance management & delivery unit) of Malaysia to improve the work culture in some key sectors.

The Planning department’s proposal will benefit areas of school education and sports, public health and water supply and sanitation.

Speaking to reporters here at the state secretariat here, Minister for Public Health, Deepak Sawant, informed that PEMANDU’s BFR will help in reducing Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to single digit.

“The government will allocate Rs 26 crore per year for the implementation of the programme in the state,” he said.

The Niti Aayog had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PEMANDU to implement the methodology in the country.

As per the proposal approved by the state cabinet, the methodology will be used to improve the academic performance of students in primary and secondary medium in school education and sports department, reducing IMR in tribal areas of the state to single digit in Public Health department and reviving shut-down rural water supply schemes under the Water Supply and Sanitation department.

“A ministerial committee headed by Minister for Planning will be set up for its implementation and coordination,” he said.

Another committee headed by Principal Secretary, Planning and secretaries of departments concerned will allocate funds after approval from the state cabinet to the 11 week programs rolled out through the lab process based on the outcomes fixed, he added.

Sawant said that PEMANDU has implemented programmes in reducing IMR in African countries like Tanzania.

At present, the current IMR in Maharashtra is 21 per cent, he said adding that the lab process of the PEMANDU involves two stages– Lab 1 and Lab 2.

“In Lab 1, the issues are identified and in Lab 2, best solutions available at hand are devised and put for implementation,” Sawant said.

“PEMANDU is known for devising the state government’s highly successful flagship water conservation programme- Jalyukta Shivar – under which measures like digging trenches, widening culverts and water harvesting techniques aimed at increasing ground water tables in the state.


Source: Press Trust of India

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Maharashtra turns to Malaysian scheme to reduce infant deaths

Mumbai: The Maharashtra cabinet has approved the planning department’s proposal to adopt Malaysian government Performance, Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) devised Big Fast Result (BFR) methodology for special performance in select areas of school education and sports, public health, water supply and sanitation departments.

Dr Deepak Sawant, Minister for Public Health said that PEMANDU’s BFR will help in reducing Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to single digit. The government will allocate Rs 26 crore per year for the implementation of the program in the state.

The Centre’s Niti Ayog had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PEMANDU to implement the methodology in the country. As per the proposal approved by the state cabinet, the methodology will be used to improve the academic performance of students in primary and secondary medium in school education and sports department, reducing IMR in tribal areas of the state to single digit in public health department and reviving shut down rural water supply schemes under the water supply and sanitation department.

A ministerial committee headed by Minister for Planning will be set up for its implementation and coordination. Another committee headed by Principal Secretary, Planning and secretaries of concerned departments will allocate funds after approval from the state cabinet to the 11 week programs rolled out through the Lab Process based on the outcomes fixed.

Dr Sawant said, “PEMANDU has implemented programs in reducing IMR in African countries like Tanzania. At present the current IMR in Maharashtra is 21 percent.” He added, “The Lab Process of the PEMANDU involves two stages of Lab 1 and Lab 2. In Lab 1 the issues are identified and in Lab 2 best solutions available at hand are devised and put for implementation.” Dr Sawant added that PEMANDU is known for devising the highly successful governments flagship water conservation programme – Jalyukta Shivar— under which measures like digging trenches, widening culverts and water harvesting techniques aimed at increasing ground water tables in the state.


Source: The Free Press Journal

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