The Productivity Council has been urged to push ahead with its work on a comprehensive productivity improvement programme for the public sector.

This encouragement came from Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, on Monday, as he delivered an address at the opening of the 2016 Week of Excellence at the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre.

He disclosed that Cabinet had signalled its desire to have the Council develop a strategic mission document delineating the major areas of concern with prescribed interventions.

???I would expect that an area of focus would be output and productivity in the public service, and how do we best intervene to enhance these in the most practical ways,??? he said.

Mr. Sinckler further revealed that Government had proposed the setting up of a National Competitiveness Commission in a couple of months, and the Council would be called on to be a part of this body, which would be chaired by the Prime Minister.

Productivity, he stated, had been identified as a key pillar for Barbados to achieve long-term sustainable private sector and foreign exchange-led growth. To achieve this national objective, he continued, productivity must be treated as a national effort whereby everyone plays a part.

???The latest national productivity measure reiterates this fact, since it was shown that non-government productivity only increased marginally by 0.8 per cent in 2014 due mainly to a small rise in GDP and not as a result of expanded hours worked, deepening efficiencies across our systems, or other measures that would allow for empirical movement of productivity,??? he said.

According to him, a review of the past 15 years of economic activity showed that the productivity levels in Barbados had not been consistent, with large declines seen in 2000, 2001 and 2009. In 2014, he stated, it expanded slightly by 0.8 per cent, which was an improvement on the 0.6 per cent decline in 2013.

???What is evident is that these fluctuations in levels of national productivity are associated with similar movements in economic growth. This shows that productivity remains a chief cornerstone on which our growth is and will be predicated,??? he stressed.

Mr. Sinckler challenged employees and employers to commit themselves to being more productive so the country???s vision of being socially-balanced, economically-viable, environmentally-sound and characterised by good and transparent governance could be actualised.

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