Gov't officers discuss risk management

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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MORE than 20 government officers from eight countries, including Jamaica, are attending the Commonwealth Secretariat's threeday Governance and Risk Management Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. It started yesterday and ends tomorrow.

The event has been organised by the Public Sector Governance Unit within the Secretariat's Governance and Peace Division, under the theme: 'Improving Governance and Risk Management in Delivering Sustainable Development'.

It is intended to provide a forum to enable Commonwealth Caribbean member states to harness partnerships within the context of managing and addressing risks, particularly associated with weather and climate change, in implementing National Development Plans (NDPs), such as Vision 2030 Jamaica, and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key topics for discussion and presentations include: 'Transparency and Accountability in delivering Good Governance'; ' E n t e r p r i s e Ri s k Management'; 'Organisational Transformation'; and 'The Changing Face of Internal Audit in Promoting Good Governance in the 21st Century'.

In her remarks, during yesterday's opening session, deputy financial secretary in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Hope Blake noted the “well-established” connection between governance and risk management.

Governance, she outlined, represents a framework guided by policies and procedures, which is the “guiding force” behind risk management. Blake said risk management, on the other hand, represents the mechanism that aids the identification and monitoring of factors affecting strategic objectives of governance processes.

“Governance and risk management are significant pillars of public financial management and are, therefore, critical to any government that is keen on improving the lives of the citizens,” she emphasised. Additionally, she said achieving fiscal targets and public sector efficiency requires every ministry, department and agency, and State-owned enterprise working together to improve governance and engage in risk management, “to realise efficiency gains and enhance delivery of services to all who access public services”.

Blake alluded to a recent Auditor General's (AG's) report on Jamaica's preparedness for SDG implementation, which revealed that while there are coordinating and institutional arrangements to allow for oversight of Vision 2030 Jamaica, there are areas related to risk management requiring enhancements to ensure the goals become a reality.

Jamaica's National Development Plan seeks to position the island to achieve developed country status within 11 years and, in the process, make it the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

Blake said the AG's report highlighted the concerted efforts needed by the Government of Jamaica to strengthen its risk management mechanism. In this regard, she said Cabinet approved a Risk Management Policy in 2018, which provides guidelines for risk management mechanism implementation, as mandated by the Financial Administration and Audit Act.

“It paves the way for a more structured approach in the identification, quantification and evaluation of risks affecting strategic objectives.

This is an indication that our policymakers recognise that a robust governance framework, together with effective risk management, will improve the success and delivery of priority programmes and projects,” she added. Blake also underscored the role of internal audits in the governance process and risk management, to evaluate their adequacy at the highest level.

Other countries represented at the conference are: Antigua and Barbuda; Botswana; Ghana; Guyana; The Kingdom of Eswatini; St Lucia; and The Gambia.


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