FINANCE and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw says the Government plans to engage the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) in identifying ways to spur increased workforce output.
Shaw, who was responding to questions from Kingston Central Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites during last week's sitting of the House of Representatives, said productivity has been in “persistent decline” for many years, and this remains a “very serious issue” in both the public and private sectors.
He argued that lack of productivity is one of the fundamental issues retarding Jamaica's ability to generate increased levels of sustainable economic growth.
“The real big elephant… the real ultimate crisis that we face is… human underdevelopment, and [low] productivity is at the heart and centre of it,” he said, noting that leveraging the JPC's expertise will be part of the solution.
“Productivity has got to become virtually a national campaign. Ministries will have to take ownership in terms of their own areas of responsibility. There has to be a national campaign for every worker, not just in the public sector but [also] in the private sector,” Shaw underscored.
He said that addressing productivity must include a focus on emoluments, particularly in the public sector.
“We can no longer leave the issue of productivity incentives out of the discussion. If we want to increase productivity, we must be able to say (to workers) 'if you are more productive, you will be rewarded for it'. So that has to become a part of the debate,” he said.
The minister also committed to exploring the extent to which the JPC may require additional resources to ramp up its activities.
“So we have a lot of work to do and, quite frankly, I think the issue of productivity has to be put centre stage in terms of policymaking. The most important thing about public sector (transformation) is that we must become productive as a people. It is productivity that is going to drive economic growth, which [in turn] drives jobs and creates personal and national wealth,” Shaw added.
The Jamaica Productivity Centre is the department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security responsible for promoting and facilitating productivity enhancement at the national, sector, industry, and enterprise levels.
It is a tripartite organisation comprising representatives of the Government, Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, and Jamaica Employers' Federation.
This partnership reflects the shared principle that growth in productivity is best achieved through the alliance and cooperation of Government, employers and workers.