(From left to right) Chairman of The Productivity Council, Dr. Akhentoolove Corbin; Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler and Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, chatting at the media launch and cocktail reception for the 2017 National Year of Productivity, at Baobab Tower on Friday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

There could be an extensive debate some time this year in the Parliament of Barbados on issues pertaining to productivity.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, said he expected the House of Assembly and Senate to set aside time so there could be a “robust discussion”, coming from a well-researched and properly presented document on productivity.

Mr. Sinckler made the comments last Friday while addressing the Media Launch and Cocktail Reception for the 2017 National Year of Productivity, at Baobab Tower.

He told his audience: “We have undervalued the extent to which there is a link between increased productivity and increased economic growth and prosperity. There is really a very direct correlation between the two, and to the extent that we have, in some ways, become a little hazy about that correlation, we need to begin to move away any cloudiness.

“We need to let people understand that the actions we take, both in the public and private sectors and in wider civil society, eventually come back to impact on the output which we gain in our Gross Domestic Product, in our Gross National Product and in all of those measures that determine whether our economy is successful or not successful.”

Mr. Sinckler recalled that the Economic and Social Report for 2014 indicated that while there was marginal growth in productivity across a number of sectors, that rate of growth was not as fast as the previous decade.

“Therefore, we can see from the economic statistics that whilst we have seen marginal increases in productivity … it has not been consistently high, to the extent as to contribute to overall increases in output.  That is a bug bear for us; it is a very serious matter which we have to address and address with some degree of alacrity,” he stressed.

The Minister underscored the importance of setting objectives, saying that was how persons could determine at the end of the day whether or not they were being productive.

General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, Toni Moore, said the union was hopeful that in this year of productivity, that persons at all levels, would ‘GET UP’ and get to putting systems in place to support the productivity improvements which were desperately needed.

“For instance, at many levels, including at the level of the union, we are aware of the tremendous potential that there is for realising a boost in productivity if an effective 24/7 system is put in place. But unless systems are put in place to ensure that quality of life cannot be compromised for productivity objectives, the benefits that have shown themselves in other jurisdictions still won’t yield to their potential. Quality of life and productivity must walk side by side,” Ms. Moore contended.

She added that the BWU was encouraged that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was championing the productivity initiative. “Given the significant need and potential for productivity to stimulate economic growth in Barbados, it is most appropriate for leadership at this highest level to demonstrate commitment to influencing what people do and also how people feel about what they do,” she stated.

Chairman of The Productivity Council, Dr. Akhentoolove Corbin, reminded those gathered that productivity played a critical role in competitiveness, both at national and sectoral levels.

Dr. Corbin pointed out that the National Year of Productivity marked a new phase in the strategic positioning of the Council, as it takes action to further meet and exceed the needs and expectations of its stakeholders.


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