Sumner: There is an urgent need to increase productivity in the Bahamian workforce

EDISON L. SUMNER, Founder and President of Sumner Strategic Partners

Founder and President of Sumner Strategic Partners Edison L. Sumner, yesterday, discussed his company’s role in engaging all relevant stakeholders throughout The Bahamas, to gather information to present a proposal to the government on establishing a National Productivity Council.

Sumner gave an overview of the plan during the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) luncheon meeting on Thursday (May 16) at the Pelican Bay Hotel.

Sumner, former Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer said, his company will be spearheading the consultative process for the public relations campaign launched by the National Tripartite Council (NTC).

During the NTC’s 2019 Annual General Assembly, consultation on a bill to establish The Bahamas National Productivity Council (NPC) was officially announced.

This campaign focuses on increasing the productivity of the Bahamian workforce to ensure that the country remains competitive regionally and globally.

Sumner expressed the belief that there is an urgent need to increase productivity in the Bahamian labour force but advises that all sectors may be required to implement recommendations.

“To create productivity improvements in the economy, there needs to be a high level of coordination, clear goals, and actionable policy,” he said.

He added that existing organizations, the business community, the financial sector, NGOs, educational institutions and international partners will all have to be involved if productivity is to be improved in a way that is long lasting, so that it is entrenched in the economy of The Bahamas.

Sumner furthered that there are four pillars of productivity – collaboration, communication, automation and analytics.

Integrating these four elements would be key to successful productivity, he noted.

Sumner added that defining productivity must come from establishing a measurement that works best for our environment. “We haven’t clearly defined it yet.”

Sumner furthered that a productivity legislation must include motivation, competency, inclusion, engagement, commitment, productivity and revenue.

Advantages of a productivity legislation would include improved quality of work and increased revenue, said Sumner. Disadvantages could include the rising cost of doing business, rising cost of living, high cost of implementing legislation and more.

Sumner also discussed the significance of a productivity council, to assist with managing low productivity levels in the country.

“A council could also assist with morale. The council would have to create methodologies for productivity measurement and management and improvement in the public sector.”

Sumner stated that they would also have to provide technical advice and assistance in related productivity matters as well as disseminating information intended to stimulate public awareness and promote an understanding as to why a higher quality of work is needed.

The council would be a body corporate under Parliament, the board comprised of nine members and the Chairperson appointment by the prime minister. The Vice Chairperson must have a professional and or academic interest.

This would be a permanent seat, he added.

Prior to Sumner’s address, GBCC President Greg LaRoda welcomed Sumner during his update of the organization’s activity.

He reminded that the GBCC does have an Ease of Doing Business Committee and appealed to attendees that are interested in contributing through them to become a committee member.

LaRoda also spoke on the Micro and Small Business Entrepreneurship Programme that they are working on in partnership with the Bahamian Government. The programme enables aspiring and current entrepreneurs to participate in a training programme, where they would eventually receive grants for their businesses.

“Where we fit in is once those persons would have gotten the grants we provide mentorship,” he said.

The GBCC President also noted that they are continuing to strengthen their relationships with other Caribbean Chambers of Commerce, particularly the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce.

LaRoda thanked attendees for their continued support of the GBCC. “I wish to thank you for your support for the work that we have been doing.”

He finally asked anyone who had concerns regarding the GBCC to voice them to the executive team and welcomed new GBCC members.

“Again, please just stay connected with your local chamber,” he said.

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