THE Financial Services Commission (FSC) is the best model for reforming this country’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
So says Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, as he highlighted the enormous progress that the entity has made in its five years of operations. The FSC was established to regulate the non-bank financial sector in Barbados.
He said, “The FSC was born out of the need to improve the robustness of the regulation in our non-bank financial sector. It has not been an easy task merging staff from various entities, which I know the Chairman of the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) has to contend with on a daily basis … But, we know it can work because the FSC has done it.”
Sinckler told the audience that the FSC has gone through all of the issues one continues to hear about in relation to what will happen to this public servant and that public servant.
Best practice
He made it clear the FSC has proven it can work and as such, is the model Government is carrying through the CARTAC study to all the other entities.
“The FSC is the best practice. It is not perfect, but it has shown if we pull all of our resources in the same direction, we can produce an organisation that the world now recognises in five short years as a best practice institution and you don’t have to take my word for it,” he said, while pointing the audience to the reviews on the FSC done by the World Bank and IMF.
He is convinced Government can make statutory entities efficient, effective and responsible, and is not daunted by the challenges. 
Get back to basics
However, a question was raised at the event of likening entities such as QEH that have been in existence over 30 years to a five-year-old entity.
The Minister maintained, “I am suggesting that the standard set in terms of the organisation, structure and operation are the types of things that the other entities should aspire to be in a transformative way to help them achieve the objective which they were created to achieve. 
“It is said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks that is true, but I also believe if you go back to the very standard of legislation that created many of these entities, you would see a lot of what the FSC is doing is not foreign. Indeed, what has happened is over time the entities have strayed from what we consider the best practices and have led them into a situation where they have fallen down on the basics. If you can’t get the basics right – for example, keeping proper management accounts – how do you run an operation without knowing what your current financial position?
“We  have to get people back to the basics and we have to ensure that there is accountability in the system… I am not requiring entities to become an FSC; they have not invented the wheel. What they have committed to is a culture of practising the elements that would constitute best practices,” he said. (NB)

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