State-owned enterprises to undergo major shake-up

Barbados needs to revamp its state-owned enterprises (SOEs), as many continue to underperform financially.

That’s according to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who on Tuesday, while delivering the 2023/24 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, stressed there would be no mass layoffs, but other measures would be taken to improve the public service.

She noted that in the 2022 financial year, the commercial state-owned enterprises in Barbados generated losses of $402m before Government subsidies of $383m

In the previous corresponding year, SOEs recorded $470m in losses before the Government subsidies of $325m.

Non-commercial state-owned enterprises in the 2022 financial year generated a loss of $127m before Government subsidies of $155m.

She said SOEs could no longer operate the way in which they have done over the years.

However, a new management trainee initiative would be key as they try to build out future leaders in the public service.

Mottley said the programme would offer contracts to young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 years to “enhance their professional careers”.

The initiative will take the form of a two-year full-time work programme where trainees will be paid a monthly salary of $6 000. The objective is for the trainees to be prepared to ultimately take up senior leadership roles within the public service.

The Prime Minister noted that this programme was important as it provided vital work experience in the public service, which would contribute directly to the country’s development thrust to become “world-class by 2030”.

Mottley added that this initiative would not only generate jobs for young people, but it would “enhance their skills, their competencies and creativity and all of this is required for an efficient public service”.

The Prime Minister, however, did not give a date for when this project will start.

“We must develop and empower young people with high-quality skills and give them an opportunity to grow, to lead and to contribute. Yes, young people, we have heard you loud and clear,” the Prime Minister added. (AL)

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