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Vacant public sector positions defunded to save $20m

Position vacant: the Government will withdraw funding from posts that are not filled (Photograph supplied)

Plans to cut funding for unfilled public-sector posts will save the Government $20 million, the finance minister said yesterday.

Curtis Dickinson confirmed a pledge made last month to “defund” vacant positions so that the cash could be used elsewhere.

The finance minister did not reveal how many positions would be affected, but it is understood that it could be more than 100.

He made no mention of earlier suggestions that the Government would offer employees aged 55 or more early retirement packages.

Mr Dickinson said: “To properly manage and allocate public finances in support of the Government’s mandate, the public service must be the right mix of human resources, programmes and prudent spending.

“Achieving this is no easy task, but in this coming fiscal year, we will renew the effort.

“Therefore, in fiscal year 2021-22, I have determined to defund any vacant post unless the funding for it has been allocated in support of delivering a service or active recruitment for the post is under way.”

Mr Dickinson added: “This results in estimated savings to the public purse of approximately $20 million.

“This will mean that the public service will trim its sails to meet the actual tasks required, managing public expectations accordingly, and the funding that remains will be put to better use achieving greater value for money.”

“Budget processes will require policy prioritisation at the start to facilitate a better alignment of the allocation of limited resources with the Government’s overall policy initiatives and objectives.”

The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance welcomed the news, and said it was common practice in the private sector.

Cole Simons, the OBA leader, said: “That’s happened before. It happened under us and it’s worth examining.

“If you’re going to be prudent, and you can get away with the work force you have now in Government, then fine.

“Quite frankly, it happens every day in business and finance.”

Mr Simons, a banker, added: “If people leave Government, the position will be unfilled. That will be the $20 million spoken about.

“That’s a normal process in business, finance and banking. It’s the way of life.”

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Published February 27, 2021 at 8:54 am (Updated February 27, 2021 at 8:54 am)

Vacant public sector positions defunded to save $20m

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