JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, says Jamaica must actively seek to implement transformative initiatives that can position the local labour force to generate and maintain sustainable productivity gains.

“This can be accomplished with careful attention to areas such as labour market reform, education, infrastructure that supports technology adoption, targeted investments in research and development as well as reallocating resources to higher value-added production,” Mr. Samuda said.

The Minister’s message was read by Senior Director for the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) Technical Assistance Unit, Colin Turner, during the entity’s virtual productivity forum, on Tuesday (June 22).

The forum was among the activities marking World Productivity Day on June 20, under the theme ‘National Pathway toward Resilient and Sustainable Productivity Improvement’.

Noting fluctuations in Jamaica’s productivity levels over the years, Mr. Samuda said the Government recognised that “we need to collectively participate in the [improvement] process by becoming more flexible and adaptable, particularly in the new working environment [caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19)]”.

He maintained that as creative and innovative ways are identified to increase productivity during the pandemic, it is imperative to also bear in mind that “at [its] core is efficiency”.

“The more efficient we are with our labour, investment and natural resources, the more we can produce. Our goal is not to only produce more. We want to produce higher quantities and qualities of goods and services with every hour of labour, every dollar of investment, and every ounce of our natural resources,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda contended that Jamaica will have growth if productivity improves, “and if we apply the correct methods and techniques that will ensure continuous and sustainable improvement[s]”.

“This shows us that our country must not only consider the possibility of more people working but also ensure that new jobs are, indeed, related to productive activities,” the Minister said.

Mr. Samuda voiced concern that the decline in productivity “has taken Jamaica off a path of development”, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic “threatens our ability to move closer to the state of a developed country”.

“As we continue to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the Jamaica Productivity Centre will be working to strengthen partnerships with stakeholders and highlight potential solutions, success stories and best practices… and our next step to promote growth in the Jamaican economy,” he said.

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