Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Ministry, in partnership with the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC), will be implementing a number of initiatives throughout the year to increase productivity levels.
Among those initiatives, he said, is the enlisting of a Japanese productivity expert, Tatsuo Kuraishi, who will be working closely with the JPC over the next few months.
Mr. Kellier added that the Ministry will also launch a vigorous public education campaign to inculcate and entrench a national productivity-conscious culture, as a core value among Jamaicans.
The Minister was addressing journalists at a press briefing, held at the Ministry’s North Street offices in downtown Kingston, on February 6.
“We strongly believe that Jamaica is in urgent need of a productivity revolution and the government of Jamaica, and more importantly, this Ministry, is committed to bringing about this revolution,” Mr. Kellier emphasized.
The Minister said there are also plans to facilitate the building of productivity-driven public and private sector organisations to provide research and measurement data to inform evidence-based advocacy for productivity friendly policies.
He informed that increased productivity in Jamaica will lead to several positive outcomes, including: stable wages arising from highly productive jobs; the local and international competitiveness of indigenous firms and industries; greater market share for Jamaican products and services; and the generation of larger numbers of decent jobs that will enhance the living standards of Jamaican workers.
“We recognise that the Jamaican economy has been characterised by negative productivity growth over the past 35 years, and this is a dangerous trend,” Mr. Kellier pointed out.
He said between 2002 and 2011, labour productivity in Jamaica declined on average by 3.2 per cent annually. In this period, only three sectors of the Jamaican economy recorded positive growth in labour productivity – hotels and restaurants; agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing; and construction and installation.
Meanwhile, Executive Director at the JPC, Dr. Charles Douglas, said an important part of reversing the decline in labour productivity levels in Jamaica lies in changing the mindset among some Jamaicans.
“We have a culture of ‘presenteeism’, where people are present but their minds are somewhere else, and we need to change that,” he said.
According to the JPC, productivity is the single most important factor that determines a country’s competitiveness, as well as the standard of living of its people. The JPC is the national productivity organisation with the mission of raising the productivity levels of firms, industries and sectors, and by extension, facilitating the improvement of Jamaica’s national productivity.