Faced with a $400 million fiscal deficit and the consequential need to improve efficiency in the public sector, the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados this morning identified a number of challenges to achieving this.
Dr Delisle Worrell told the first in a series of productivity awareness programmes dubbed “Get Up”, that the results of measures introduced to improve public sector efficiency, had been “spotty”.
“The … challenge of improving public sector efficiency has been with us for some time. A number of initiatives have been undertaken, but the results have been admittedly, spotty. The growth challenge has proved to be an incentive to focus sharply on this requirement,” Worrell added.
He suggested that improved productivity and service excellence were the basis on which Barbados aimed to improve its international competitiveness.
“Barbados specialises in high-end products and services for the most part. Our high quality tourism services are the most remuneratively. Our international businesses require sophisticated skills and our aged rums, have made a name for Barbados internationally,” the Governor continued.
Worrell said the way to improve the island’s competitiveness in these sectors was to enrich the product offerings, improve the quality of products and services, market strategically and increase worker productivity.
“Initiatives are underway in each of these areas,” he added.
Worrell stated that institutional arrangements had been established to assist Barbados to meet the challenge of increasing productivity and achieving excellence of service in the private and public sectors.
“We must use these institutions to place renewed focus and energy on these issues … a number of programmes are underway. There are programmes which need to be revived and we are implementing new initiatives such as this series of workshops,” declared Worrell.
The Central Bank governor agreed that lowering the price of products without improving productivity would not restore competitiveness.
“By sufficiently improving quality, it is possible to improve competitiveness, even with higher prices. The key to competing successfully, is to match quality to price and then offer something extra that makes Barbados special. These are the issues that will consume our attention in the weeks and months ahead. (EJ)
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