BUSINESS MONDAY: Region must improve productivity


“WE must not wait on international institutions to tell us what to do to determine our future when in some cases we know what exactly needs to be done and we have to have the will to do it.” 
This is the advice coming from Timothy Antoine, newly appointed Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Speaking recently at the Centre for Management Development seminar entitled “The Economics of Leadership: Keys for the 21st Century Leaders” at the Cave Hill School of Business, he believes that as part of resurrecting our economies and as part of elevating the growth and development trajectory, we [in the region] have to look at this issue of productivity.
He stressed, “We can do better when it comes to productivity… As a region, we have to position ourselves to tap into opportunities such as energy, etc. and look for the business opportunities to create employment in the Caribbean.
“We still need external partners, but we have to do for ourselves what we can… We need to be more urgent; the world is not waiting on us. It is a rapidly changing environment and delay is costly, so my view is that while there are genuine efforts, we need to move fast and more comprehensive.”
The Governor also touched on the issue of education not matching the labour market needs in the region. “In the region, we still seem to have an obsession with subjects rather than skills. A lot of people are coming out of the education system without critical skills and the irony is that even though we are talking about high unemployment, when an employer is looking for certain skills we don’t have it… There is too much of a disconnect between our education system and the labour market,” he said.
Also recently, Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, stated, “I am deeply concerned that as we get more degrees from universities and colleges, we are getting less productive in this society. This must not be the new norm 50 years after Independence. Simply put, no one in the public nor private sectors are entitled to a job; we are fundamentally entitled to be appropriately rewarded for performing the duties assigned to us. 
“When a society begins to give all rights to employees and none to employers, then that society has lost its way. Barbados will not lose its way. We will find a judicious blend on all of these issues, but we must do so now, not tomorrow.” (NB)


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