State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, is optimistic that Jamaica can catch up with the rest of the world in terms of its productivity levels.
State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore
Speaking at a forum held on Wednesday (June 23) at the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) headquarters in St. Andrew, Mr. Gallimore stated that Jamaica is “far back in the pack, but there is hope,” pointing to gains made through the Jamaica Productivity Centre.
He noted that increasing productivity is critical to achieving sustained growth and enhancing the country’s competitiveness.
“If we are able to improve our total factor productivity then it is going to result in our GDP (gross domestic product) being increased.it will allow us to minimise the unit cost of production, it will allow us to make better quality products and deal with more diverse selection of products and of course, it will increase the market share that we so desperately need in the global marketplace,” he pointed out.
Mentioning some of the factors affecting the productivity of firms, Mr. Gallimore pointed to the high cost of electricity, deficiencies in transportation, and high security costs, which he admitted, were often outside of their control.
He noted, however, that some firms have not been proactive in putting systems in place to optimize their level of output, including key performance indicators, providing training for workers, and benchmarking information.
Research Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr. Peter John Gordon, in his contribution, cited a World Bank study, which stated that sluggish growth in Latin American and the Caribbean was due largely to slower productivity growth, and that the region’s current productivity level was about half its potential.
The study titled: ‘The Age of Productivity: Transforming Economies from the Bottom Up’, also found that the income per capita gap of the region in relation to the United States would largely disappear if the productivity gap was closed.
To correct the productivity deficiencies in Jamaica, Dr. Gordon suggested that productivity should be made a central theme of public discourse and that the Government should disseminate the effects of policy on long-term productivity and incorporate business and labour in the policy debate at the highest level.
Yesterday’s forum, a collaborative effort of the Jamaica Productivity Centre, the JEF and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, was held under the theme: ‘Transforming Enterprises Through Productivity’.
The objective was to identify practical solutions that will drive enterprise productivity and enhance economic growth.