KINGSTON — Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, has expressed appreciation to the Japanese Government for assisting Jamaica, particularly with the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC).
“We are so pleased and indebted to the Japanese government for sending Mr. (Makoto) Oyama to the JPC for two years to be with us. There are many companies that have benefited significantly from his visit, and the Centre has learnt a lot,” Mr. Gallimore told JIS News, following a meeting Thursday January 6 at the Ministry, North Street, Kingston.
Mr. Gallimore met with Mr. Oyama, the outgoing Productivity Consultant for the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to discuss the state of productivity in Jamaica. The Director of the JPC, Dr. Charles Douglas, the Centre’s Senior Productivity Specialist, Tamara Nelson and Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Errol Miller also participated in the discussions.
He noted that the Productivity Consultant has conducted several visits to different companies and factories, and has identified where greater efficiencies and greater productivity can be realised.
“He has definitely highlighted that he sees tremendous need for more mechanisation, using more modern equipment; identifying what the best practices are in doing different things; in ensuring that our employees have more cross training, so that we have less people accomplishing more, which puts us in a greater competitive position,” Mr. Gallimore said.
He lamented that Jamaica is one of the least productive countries in competition in the English-speaking Caribbean, with statistics that are discouraging. He said that, for this reason, the Government has put much focus on the JPC and, therefore welcomed the technical expertise.
Mr. Oyama told JIS News that he visited almost 50 organisations, in the government and the private sectors, and noted that, while there were several elements needing improvement, there were also some strong points.
“You have a strong point in English-speaking and (being) close to the big market, which is the United States and (having) highly educated persons in the Government and companies, and Jamaican’s physical capabilities are excellent,” he said.
Another JICA Representative arrived in the island on Friday (January 7) to begin a two-year tenure with the JPC.
JICA has been in operation in Jamaica since 1989. One of its mandates is to provide the Jamaican government with technical assistance in the areas of health, education and agriculture. To date, Jamaica has benefited tremendously from the Japanese volunteers by way of transferring knowledge and methodologies to their counterparts.