The Minister of Finance Crossley Tatui in an email to BCN news yesterday says that the government’s proposed structural reforms were made known earlier this year emanating from the overdue audit reports and the various reports from the reviews conducted by international organisations on the capacity of the Niue public service.
Some of these reports include the Institutional Strengthening and Governance Project report, ADB Public Expenditure Financial Accountability Reports, PFTAC taxation review report, PFTAC Non-tax revenues report to name a few of the reviews conducted on the capacity of the Niue Public service to meet international best practices and standards, something that has been lagging in the service for some time according to Minister Tatui.
In an earlier interview with BCN news in August this year, Minister Tatui said that the PEFA review outcomes should be implemented in a whole of government approach.
“The Public Financial management reforms is meant to be on the whole of government approach so everyone should be on board to understand and help one another. For example, the PAC (Public Accounts Committee), the Assembly, the Cabinet, heads of departments, the Public Service Commission and government employees”, according to Minister Tatui.
Meanwhile, Opposition MP Terry Coe says that these reforms will be disastrous because of the lack of experience and qualified people in the public service right now to take on what it going to be a much bigger reform of the government structure.
“I think it’s a disaster, what’s happening because we can’t fix the problems we’ve got now, especially in Treasury, then how are we going to fix it with a much larger public service, with no people with experience and qualifications”, says Mr Coe.
Hon. Terry Coe says that he is also concerned that this new structure will mean an increase in the personnel costs to the government.
He is suggesting the government should go back and consult widely before making the final decisions. The veteran opposition MP is also critical of the Public Service Commission saying that they too lack experience in the public service.
Terry Coe said that he hopes to raise some of these issues at the next sitting of the Fono Ekepule next Wednesday, which is the final sitting of the Assembly for the year.
The proposed reforms to the government organisational structure will see an increase in the number of central agencies from four to seven. There will be a new ministry of Finance and Economics which will have four new departments. There will also be two new departments under the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Department of Fisheries, and the Department of Climate Change.
The Public Service Chairperson Ida Talagi-Hekesi has confirmed that the reforms will take the next two years.