Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is being challenged by businesses here to live up to his billing as productivity champion.
Stuart, who last week was named by The Productivity Council as the National Productivity Champion for the Year of Productivity, had underscored the importance of productivity, describing it as “the pivot on which the entire society spins”, and the biggest challenge currently facing the country.
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is putting him to the test, recommending a number of steps the Prime Minister must take to improve productivity here.
“Let us adequately resource the BRA [Barbados Revenue Authority] to have an efficient and [secure system] in place; let us give businesses the ability to offset various taxes to and by the BRA in a speedy fashion; businesses need a faster clearance of goods through customs – green should mean green; allow the public to make payments to various Government agencies online; use of technology to access up to date information on the progress of application from the town and country planning offices and the fast tracking of investments over $50 million through the business facilitation unit,” Acting BCCI President Edward Clarke said.
“We believe that these are just a few of the examples of how productivity can be improved in the public sector. They are not difficult things to achieve.”
Clarke added it was absolutely necessary to make it easier to do business here if Barbados were to woo more foreign investors.
In an address Wednesday to the BCCI, Stuart expressed disappointment that interest in productivity tended to rise only when the economy was facing challenges and that “often when the issue is raised, it is made generally to apply to workers only”.
He expressed pleasure at the fact that the entire country would be focusing on the issue this year and called on every Barbadian to take it seriously and give their best to increase output.
Stating there was a serious challenge with worker engagement, Stuart also appealed to employers to make every effort to ensure a congenial workplace.
During the Year of Productivity which started this month, officials of the Productivity Council will visit schools to highlight the importance of productivity to students.