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Editors' Forum | Productivity on pause - Private sector as guilty as Government

Published:Friday | May 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

The local private sector has been labelled as inefficient as the Government by Therese Turner-Jones, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) country representative in Jamaica.

Seemingly disappointed at the low productivity levels in Jamaica, Turner-Jones told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Tuesday that the private sector in Jamaica and the region is not doing enough to address this.




According to Turner-Jones, Jamaica must get serious about productivity if the country is to see real growth and development.

"We would like to see Jamaican workers be the best that they can be, so that means coming out with the best results in school, using technology to get the best possible opportunity, so that whatever is being produced in Jamaica is being produced at a high quality," said Turner-Jones.

"We know that firms in the Caribbean - and we have done studies on firms - are not particularly efficient, they are as inefficient as the government," added Turner-Jones, who is responsible for managing the IDB's portfolio in six countries in the Caribbean - Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Turner-Jones argued that the private sector needs to embrace research, innovation, and technology as these are critical tools that will create success going forward.

"They (firms) are not innovating, they are not using research, innovation is barely spoken about. People don't speak much about technology. We speak a lot about using our smartphones and computers, but no one is saying how technology will actually be allowed to improve the system and deal with some of its challenges," Turner-Jones lamented.

"We haven't embraced that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), which is really where you ought to be focusing the educational system because we know that the jobs of tomorrow are going to be in that sector.

"We know that those countries that are emerging faster, as far as growth goes, and are inserting into the global economy are those economies where people are using technology to do things and to inform decisions better," said Turner-Jones.