Samuda says improving productivity is keySaturday, March 06, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Labour and Social Security, Karl Samuda, says that improving productivity and adapting to the new norm is of utmost importance as Jamaica strives to become a more productive economy.
Samuda, whose address was read by the Director of Public Relations and Communication in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), Vando Palmer, at the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) virtual quarterly Productivity Forum, on Thursday, said that past fora highlighted the challenges impacting the manufacturing sector, solutions for improving human capital within the economy, and policies that can improve productivity.
He pointed out that the quarterly fora held over the last year have shone light on various aspects of productivity and have been a platform for educating the people on the importance of productivity and the roles all Jamaicans have in productivity improvement.
“This forum continues to strengthen the conversations on productivity. Our attention is now futuristic post pandemic. We are looking on how can productivity help our firms, industries and nation recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19; how can our industries be more resilient; what are the lessons we have learnt in this so-called COVID-19 era; what positive changes have been made that we can carry into the future; and what productivity promoting steps can be taken to improve labour market conditions,” he said.
Research has shown that trends in productivity levels from 2000 to 2019 have seen a decrease of 15 per cent in Jamaica, as compared to a 51 per cent increase in countries such as the Dominican Republic.
Specifically, within the same period, Jamaica's labour productivity rate has decreased on average by 0.6 per cent annually.
According to Samuda, a key driver of productivity is human capital, which must be supported by the development of the labour force with the requisite tools and skills.
“A closer look at the linkages between education and productivity is needed during this time, to ensure that we are encouraging innovation and labour skills to match the new jobs being created,” he said.
Samuda said that another area of focus by the JPC is assessing the link between the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, through agro-processing techniques.
He pointed out that the centre will explore how agro-processing, through automation, can boost the quantity and quality of agricultural products.
The Technical Assistance Service Unit (TASU) of the JPC is equipped with technical support expertise to help firms/companies to measure and implement strategies that reduce waste and promote productivity.
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