President of the Caribbean Development Bank, CDB, Dr. Warren Smith, says international agencies have been very patient with Jamaica in meeting the target to cut public sector wages.

They’re urging the government to focus on retraining public sector workers to take on jobs in the private sector.

Nine-percent of GDP is the wage target that successive administrations have been trying to meet for years now. The latest deadline is just around the corner – 2019, that’s next year.

And with the government preparing to present its new budget for the upcoming fiscal year, they’re now behind schedule in wrapping up agreements with most of the unions.

CDB President Dr. Warren Smith says the IMF and others have been patient, but this needs to be addressed.

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But Dr. Smith wouldn’t go as far as to say the government shouldn’t cave in to the unions’ demands, even as the clock continues to tick. He says they need to focus on retraining workers for the private sector.

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And with unemployment levels at a 10 year low due to large investments in tourism and BPOs, it’s a transition the government has already been encouraging. But those who choose to remain on the public purse still want to see a decent wage increase, after years of holding strain.

Nationwide’s Kalilah Reynolds spoke with Dr. Smith at CDB Headquarters in Barbados.