Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Privatize the Print Shop

Talifaitasi Satele


If the ASG plans to follow other local governments in the U.S., like Chicago, Illinois or Sandy Springs, Atlanta, in shoring up their budgets by privatizing certain governmental functions, they can start with the ASG Print Shop. If print production in the ASG is anything like its business licensing process, then we should all pray that the next storm does more than just flood the Print Shop building.

The fundamental idea behind outsourcing a function is whether doing so would be cheaper or be of more value than keeping it in house. ASPA based its justification for bringing its trash collection services back in house on its findings that it would save its customers money. But it seems the Fono is being asked to mandate all ASG printing to be done at the Print Shop in an effort to save jobs or maintain that department’s relevance.

Whether it comes to privatization, outsourcing or free trade for that matter, it should never be about saving jobs. It’s whether the customer (in this case, the ASG) has the freedom to choose where to best spend his money. Economically speaking, that often means the cheapest price or the best quality possible.

Seeing that it takes a million years for the ASG to get anything done, we shouldn’t be too hopeful that it will privatize anything anytime soon. But in the case of the Print Shop, the best way for the ASG to privatize that department is to continue to do what it has always done best:

Nothing.

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