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Moving house again: Accountant General to relocate in June

The Accountant General’s Department, AGD, will relocate staff to the agency’ own quarters starting in June, exiting borrowed facilities at National Heroes Circle that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has said it wants back.

The department has been occupying borrowed space at the finance ministry since 2018, placing staff in different buildings, which internal sources say distracts from the proper running of the agency, which is headed by Anya Jones.

That ad hoc arrangement stemmed from the emergency exit from its own offices.

Now, the Accountant General’s Department is once again bound for permanent facilities at 21 Dominica Drive in New Kingston, where all staff will be housed together. The building once housed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, which recently moved its headquarters to Port Royal Street on the Kingston waterfront.

Back in 2017, the Accountant General moved into renovated space at the former Oceana Hotel on the waterfront. The Government had spent some $400 million on renovations but were forced to scuttle the move after complaints about air quality and staff began to fall ill.

The AGD was then crowded into the finance ministry’s complex.

Currently, staff in the pensions unit are operating under a tent at National Heroes Circle, indicating the constraint on space being experienced there.

As an agency of the finance ministry, the Accountant General’s Department is responsible for oversight of the flow of funds in and out of the Consolidated Fund; and monitoring government shareholdings, treasury balances, debt servicing, loan portfolio balances, and statutory and voted provisions.

The Accountant General oversees the almost decade-old Central Payroll Payment System which manages payments for some 60,000 government employees, which are channelled through a single account at the Bank of Jamaica.

On a monthly and fortnightly basis, it administers salaries and deductions for public officers across 17 ministries, 12 executive agencies and more than 20 departments.

The centralised system avoids fees previously charged by commercial banks.