Workforce Not That Productive

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Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler
(FP)

A government minister is less than pleased with the productivity of the Barbadian workforce and has warned that the country could miss out on lucrative business connections that are needed to enhance the island’s reputation.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler made this observation last Thursday, while addressing the official opening of the DigiCentre at Mall Internationale, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael.

He reasoned that the declining levels of productivity were a source of concern in light of the heavy investment in technology and in other sectors, to boost the output.

"While it is certainly correct to say that we have invested billions of dollars over the years in education, health care and technological upgrades, we still seem to be dogged by an inability to increase our factor productivity across most sectors.?? This is quite troubling, since in order for us to sustain expansion in our economy, in ways that would meet the heavy social, economic, and political demands, we have to find ways to translate these heavy investments into greater levels of output," Mr.Sinckler maintained.

More pointedly, he added, is the fact that foreign investors desirous of relocating their operations in Barbados, were "looking ever more closely at the levels of productivity of our labour markets, our technology platforms and the style and pace of our administrative and legal systems and of our general business culture".

Mr. Sinckler added: "The standards in the high pace environment of the corporate decision making process are shifting upwards at such a rate, that countries such as Barbados stands to lose on impacting and securing top investments, if we cannot raise the quality and speed of our productive output."

He also bemoaned the slow pace of doing business in the country and noted: "Several of us in both the private and the public sectorshave lamented the general lethargy of our business culture and have all commented and have committed to seeing improvements across sectors I am afraid however, that this might not be enough. Surely we can do better at all levels, whether it is through employing better training for our workforces, retaining and more pointedly using higher grade technologies and applying the appropriate factors in the right places."

Mr. Sinckler also criticised the public and private sectors for lapse monitoring of programmes that were formulated to improve efficiency. "The reality is that we have failed to implement what we have designed and we have refused to monitor that which we have implemented in empirical ways that would allow us to make the adjustment to improve productivity.?? This failure is shared equally in the public and private sectors and it must be addressed," he emphasised.????

Given this scenario, the Finance Minister alluded to steps being taken by government to turn around the situation and disclosed initiatives to reform the Customs and Excise and VAT Departments; upgrades to the Barbados Statistical Service, Barbados Port Inc. and the Town Planning Department.

jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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