Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says effective April 1, 2013, overall management of public sector finances will be undertaken through the newly instituted Central Treasury Management System (CTMS). The CTMS is a critical component of the Government’s Economic Reform Programme (GERP), which will be used to effect the management of: cash; Government’s bank accounts; financial planning and forecasting of cash flows; public debt management; administration of foreign grants and counterpart funds from international lending and donor agencies; and financial assets management. Speaking at a recent Kingston Rotary Club luncheon, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, Dr. Phillips informed that work on the CTMS, “which has been underway for a long time” has been completed and “is now in operation, albeit for only a section of government operations”. “By the 1st of April 2013, the entire public sector, Central Government and the agencies, will operate on the basis of a Central Treasury Management System with a Central Treasury Account being operated out of the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ)…rather than borrowing our own money from the private commercial banks, because of the amounts being held in deposit there,” he outlined. This, he explained, should result in savings to the Consolidated Fund of “hundreds of millions of dollars”, and is a “critical element of any move towards increased efficiency in financial management within the public sector”. The CTMS has already been implemented in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, one of four Ministries and Agencies earmarked for pilot projects. The others are: the Ministries of: Education; and Transport, Works and Housing; and the Accountant General’s Department. Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips informed that a basic study being undertaken on tax waivers and concessions is in the “final stages” of completion by consultants contracted to undertake the exercise, with support provided by the Inter-American Development (IDB). “We are now moving to the stage where a new…Omnibus Legislation…and a new policy on waivers on incentives, will be settled,” the Finance Minister said.