Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Letter of the day | Growth has many dimensions

Published:Saturday | December 31, 2016 | 12:00 AM


It is good to hear that tourism in Jamaica is booming. Reported visitor arrivals in the month of December peaked to record numbers according to reports. Hotels are full. Cruise ships are coming. We also hear of positive economic growth rates, and the Economic Growth Council projects five per cent growth in four years.

This is all great news, but what bothers me is the apparent complacency and lack of anticipation. We plan for growth, but don't anticipate that services must also be improved to complement growth. The lines at the MoBay airport, for instance have always been very long, due to increases in visitor arrivals over the years. The long wait to be processed is time-consuming and draining to visitors and returning residents alike, especially those travelling with small children. The customs hall in MoBay can be chaotic, with no proper signs mounted on luggage carousels for the numerous flights arriving - often within minutes of each other. We need to assess and overhaul the business processes and facilities to improve efficiency given the growth in arrival numbers.

Over the holidays, it was reported that a senior was murdered while standing and waiting outside a post office in the early morning for its opening, obviously to avoid the crowd and collect her pension. Is this the best we can do in this day and age, to pay out pensions to senior citizens?

Similarly, at places like the tax offices, you often have two persons dealing with clients in a long line (waiting to pay tax revenues to Government). Is it too much to assign more counter-service personnel to improve the process and overall client experience?




The same applies to banks, especially during peak periods. I've heard of banks (which are already very profitable) charging customers a fee to cash cheques. This is ridiculous! If we want to grow business, we must plan to grow all services that come with business growth and increased numbers.

Government and some of these private-sector places need to engage the services of competent business analysts to review and improve performance and processes, or else people will get turned off, visitors could be reluctant to return, people could think twice about going to the tax office to pay their taxes. With the digital world, more services can be brought online. Time is money. Improvement in services is vital to economic growth, and we must ensure that some of the increased revenues is reinvested to improve facilities and the required services which positively impact overall customer experience. We must strive to make things easier and better if we really want growth.

P. Chin