Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2015 Contents DECEMBER 24 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
REGIONAL | BG19
Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has announced
plans to introduce an incentive scheme for government
workers that will see those who perform well going
home with extra money in their wallets or getting
more time off the job.
He spoke about the planned pay-for-performance
initiative during his budget presentation this week,
as part of a wider plan to improve efficiency and
enhance productivity in the public sector.
The prime minister said such incentives have
become "the driving force in influencing productivity
and work effort across organizations in the private
and public sectors".
"These enhanced efficiencies are critically important
for achieving the desired performance levels that are
required for fulfilling the strategic vision of my gov-
ernment s Prosperity Agenda," he said.
"Recognising and rewarding the outstanding per-
formance of individuals or groups, who play a leading
role in achieving pre-established goals and mission
objectives of their Ministries, can serve as a powerful
incentive that fosters the creation of new ideas and
superior work effort."
The prime minister said that these incentives can
be used to enhance workers self-worth, which will
in turn lead to more productivity and may also serve
as a tool for attracting and retaining top talent.
Benefits to be derived may include "pre-established
performance-based cash awards, time-off from duty
and other forms of recognition," said the prime min-
ister, adding that "the intent is to motivate individuals
to perform at their optimal levels with the expectation
that commensurate rewards will result from their
Harris said a pilot programme will be introduced
that will "carve out a modest allocation of funds
from existing programmes to finance an incentive-
based programme that rewards outstanding work
Haiti will improve watersheds
management especially in
rural areas, mitigating the risk
of natural disasters associated
with climate change with a
US$42 million grant from the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB).
The grant will seek to increase capacities
for adaptation to climate change and disaster
risk management in the agriculture sector;
improve water and sediment conservation
in selected gullies of priority watersheds
including the Centre-Artibonite Loop area;
reduce risk of rural economic losses due to
floods in targeted watersheds; and restore
the educational capacity of the Faculty of
Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine.
Haiti is one of the countries with the high-
est natural disaster risk index in the world,
and its agricultural sector is especially vul-
nerable to natural disasters because of its
geography and reliance on activities closely
linked to climate factors.
Eighty per cent of the country is moun-
tainous with 30 main watersheds and just
28 per cent arable land, which is concentrated
in irrigated valleys. Its location within the
Caribbean s hurricane belt, its mountainous
terrain, and severe deforestation, combined
with its reliance on agriculture make it par-
ticularly susceptible to flooding.
Agriculture contributes to 25 per cent of
the country s gross domestic product, 5.9
per cent of total exports value, 47 per cent
of overall employment and 71 per cent of
employment in rural areas. Haiti currently
suffers some US$28 million in annual expect-
ed losses for four watersheds targeted by the
project, and climate-hazardous events are
likely to increase as global temperatures rise.
A portion of the funding for the project
comes from the Pilot Programme for Climate
Resilience (PPCR) under the global Climate
Investment Funds (CIF).
The White House called last
week for "common sense
steps" to help Puerto Rico claw
out of its fiscal crisis as it wel-
comed a commitment by the
leader of the US House of Rep-
resentatives to consider legislation to help the
"We certainly are gratified that the speaker
has committed to bringing up legislation early
in the new year to give Puerto Rico access to
an orderly restructuring regime," White House
spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday
he had instructed committees to work with
Puerto Rico s government to come up with a
solution to the island s financial woes, calling
for a plan to be crafted by the end of March.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday
said Ryan s instruction reflected "the need for
Congress to act quickly" on Puerto Rico, adding
that any solution should include a mechanism
for the island to restructure its debt.
Puerto Rico, wrestling with some US$70
billion of debt and a faltering economy, default-
ed on part of its debt in August and is trying
to restructure its borrowings. The island s gov-
ernor said on Wednesday the island would
default on either its upcoming payment due
in January or a subsequent one in May.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress
have been divided on whether Puerto Rico
should be given access to US bankruptcy laws
to help it reorganise its debts.
"Providing restructuring authority to the
people of Puerto Rico will require Congress
to confront difficult interests" but is "essential
to protect the 3.5 million Americans" on the
island, Lew said in a statement Thursday night.
Earnest said any legislation should give
Congress an oversight role. He also repeated
the administration s view that reforms to
Puerto Rico s Medicaid system should be put
in place to help relieve budgetary pressures
and again called on lawmakers to make the
island s residents eligible for the Earned-
Income Tax Credit for low- and moderate-
"We believe that would be a common-sense
package that would benefit the people of Puerto
Rico and allow that government to dig out of
the deep hole that they re facing," he said.
... power utility gets debt
Puerto Rico s electric utility says it has been
given a brief reprieve to pursue an agreement
with bond insurers on a debt restructuring
deal that it reached last month with its bond-
holders and bank lenders.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority
said creditors agreed to extend Friday s deadline
for a final deal until Tuesday. The proposed
debt deal would ease payment terms for the
Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and other
officials have said the authority s 18 months
of negotiations with creditors show why Con-
gress should grant the US territory s public
agencies access to Chapter 9 federal bankruptcy
reorganisation. The utility is the first of about
a dozen entities that officials say need to
restructure their debts.
The governor warned of a "humanitarian
crisis" late Friday after Congress declined to
extend Chapter 9 to Puerto Rico despite weeks
"By not acting now, Congress has opted to
allow a US commonwealth not pay its obli-
gations and create chaos. Once more, Wall
Street has shown its control over Congress;
Wall Street is who controls Congress," he said
in a statement.
Garcia Padilla announced in June that Puerto
Rico s US$72 billion public debt is not payable.
He has since said the island s government is
out of cash and will default on debt payments
before next June.
Chapter 9 would allow public corporations
like the power authority to undergo a bank-
ruptcy court-supervised restructuring process,
rather than the voluntary debt negotiations
taking place with creditors.
Senate Republicans have introduced a bill
that would create a powerful federal control
board to supervise Puerto Rico s finances while
supplying up to US$3 billion in relief, and US
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he wants to
address Puerto Rico s fiscal crisis by March.
Democratic Senate and House leaders intro-
duced legislation Friday that would prevent
creditor lawsuits against Puerto Rico through
March 31. Reuters
Calls for 'common sense steps'
to help Puerto Rico
St Kitts govt to introduce
performance pay scheme
for public sector workers
IDB to invest US$42 million to improve
natural disaster mitigation in Haiti
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