Examine how we operate

The dust is settling from the arrival of the Miller/Shaw Report but the question on everyone’s lips is still:
“What are the next steps to balancing our budget?”
There have been many views expressed on how we should proceed on this but most would agree it’s a three pronged effort of reducing government expenditure, increasing revenue, and divesting of some of government’s assets. The Chamber of Commerce endorses the majority of the conclusions and recommendations of the Miller/Shaw Report. The forecast modelling contained in the report is of particular significance, given that there appears to be only one course to pursue in order to restore economic stability to these Islands.
There is no doubt that this is a significant challenge for our government but it shouldn’t all be viewed in the negative. This is an opportunity to innovate the public sector and streamline efficiencies. This is the time to trim the fat and transform government procedure and productivity into a new era of efficiency and revenue growth. All staffing levels need to be assessed; wasteful spending eliminated and non-essential services should be made redundant or provided by the private sector. This is not a new tune for the Chamber; we have been expressing concern over the expanding scope of government for many years. Privatisation and divestment of Government assets have been suggested at numerous opportunities regarding the proper management of Government spending.
But let’s look beyond the obvious and think about investing in innovation. Technology is an exciting industry that never rests. IBM as a leader in this field demonstrated many examples for increasing efficiency at a recent conference titled The Smarter Planet last year. One of their products ‘e-procurement’ has been specifically developed for use by governments wishing to cut costs in the procurement of products and services. It was demonstrated that more effective procurement can reduce time, operations costs and resources required in the ability to deploy staff to higher value work, reduce hurdles for suppliers competing for Government business (that can cost considerable time and effort, between 10-50 per cent more than similar private sector sales), better quality products through collaborative design/procurement processes and enable a more competitive environment leading to a reduced cost of procured goods and services.
Procurement is a substantial operation for any organisation–the purchase of goods and services typically represents 20 per cent to 60 per cent of an organisation’s cost structure.
This is just one innovative approach to conserving spending but there are many more opportunities to think about how we do things. You can’t look at a problem with the view to making it smaller – you must look at a problem with the view to getting rid of it altogether. The Chamber of Commerce prides itself on being a solution provider and partner to the public sector. In response to our current economic situation we have produced a State of Business Survey, which examines the issues of key importance influencing the state of business in the Cayman Islands.
This has been sent out to selected owners/managing directors of Chamber member businesses. The data from this survey will be gathered to use at the Future of Cayman Forum to be hosted by the Chamber later this year. This information will help us better understand the ‘on the ground’ challenges faced by the private sector and help us with discussions on how to deal with these important issues as we move forward. If you are interested in being part of the Future of Cayman Forum please contact the Chamber office for more information.
Cayman is no longer the Island that time forgot. Whether we like it or not, we can no longer survive in the knowledge that as a non-income tax jurisdiction we are bound to succeed. Let us examine how we operate as both public and private sectors and how together we can make a more stable and prosperous business environment for us all.