Jamaica must look to become globally competitive in the area of productivity, says Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles Jr.
“The reality is the market that we are in now is much more competitive. When we talk about global competitiveness it means you must be more productive because if you are going to compete in a global market, on a global scale, you can’t just be concerned with how the person beside you is working… and so if they are mediocre and you are a little bit above them, you are okay,” he pointed out.
“We are concerned with what is taking place in Australia, Canada, India, China, everywhere, because the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) wants to drive Jamaica to its maximum potential… we don’t want to just be floating,” Charles underscored.
He was addressing the JPC’s 20th Anniversary Productivity Forum in recognition of World Productivity Day, which was held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday (June 20).
For her part, the JPC’s Chief Technical Director, Tamar Nelson, noted that over the past two decades, there have been many lessons learned about the global and local factors impacting productivity.
“During this period, we have seen several challenges to productivity around the world, and this would include the great recession of 2007, the US-China Trade war and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, which still affects us today. Coupled with [these are] other issues such as human capital attainment, the rate of technological adoption and changing trends in international trade,” she said.
Nelson noted that these events have lowered the rate of productivity growth globally, citing recent statistics showing that the output is projected to have risen by 0.4 per cent globally.
“Since the end of the pandemic restrictions, we have seen, slowly, labour productivity, for example, recovering with marked differences across industries,” she informed.
The forum, which was hosted under the theme ‘Paving Productivity Pathways for a Prosperous Nation’, featured, among other activities, panel discussions involving several key industry stakeholders.
The JPC is responsible for promoting and facilitating productivity improvement in Jamaica.
It has been recognised as the leading regional centre on productivity growth by virtue of enabling Jamaica’s economy to be more productive, innovative and competitive.