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Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Dwight Nelson, has called on stakeholders participating in this year’s Productivity Conference, to take total factor productivity into consideration.
He cautioned against mistaking efficiency for productivity, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Jamaica Productivity Centre’s (JPC), Productivity Conference, at the Knutsford Court Hotel yesterday (October 28).
Senator Nelson said that it will be a hard task but one that must be done. “We have a tendency to talk about increasing efficiency in the public sector. Efficiency basically speaks to doing things within a particular time frame. When you begin to look at productivity in the public sector, you do not simply look at increasing efficiency because one can do a lot of unnecessary things efficiently without achieving any effective increase in productivity,” he pointed out.
“The task of improving national productivity and as a consequence the competitiveness of Jamaica is going to be a very hard one,” he further emphasised.
Speaking to a newspaper article that questions the role of politicians in productivity, Minister Nelson highlighted the Government’s role in creating a productivity culture.
“It is that kind of misguided perception, which makes the job of creating a productivity culture that much harder. National productivity has to have the input of a tripartite (the state, the employers and the workers). We need to accept that the three parties have an intrinsic role to play and not fall prey to the misconception that productivity simply means increasing output from the workers and therefore is the responsibility of the employer and the worker. The state has an important role to play,” he advised.
The call to improve the country’s productivity level has been a constant one, and this year the Productivity Centre has sought to address the issue by hosting the conference, which began yesterday (Oct. 28) with Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, as the keynote speaker.
The conference has a number of components including: productivity leadership in firms, which is geared at soliciting the support of top decision-makers in promoting a culture of productivity improvement in Jamaica and; a public sector confab, which seeks to combine the efforts of the MOU III Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the JPC to raise awareness about productivity within the public sector.
The conference will also feature a general practitioners session, which aims to provide individuals with specialised tools and techniques to measure improved productivity and a hospitality industry practitioners session, the objective of which is to provide industry specific productivity tools and techniques to managers and supervisors.
The productivity conference is being held over three days from October 28 and 29 at the Knutsford Court Hotel; and on October 30 at the Breezes Runaway Bay Golf and Spa in St. Ann.