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Sumner: Draft legislation seeks to reverse productivity decline

The National Tripartite Council (NTC) has announced that it has secured the consultation services of Sumner Strategic Partners (SSP), which has already produced draft legislation and a draft white paper on the development of a National Productivity Council (NPC).

Speaking at a press conference yesterday on the matter, principal of SSP and former chief executive officer of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Edison Sumner said The Bahamas’ legislation has been mirrored after that of Barbados. Should the legislation be ratified, it would make this country only the second in the Caribbean region to enact it.

Sumner said he and his team will engage private sector, public sector and union stakeholders across the nation in order to gauge what productivity means for each relevant sector of society and how it can be improved. He added that those answers will eventually be placed in the final legislation that will be brought to the House of Assembly.

He and Chairman of the NTC Robert Farquharson both said productivity levels in The Bahamas have declined over the years, and said the International Labor Organization (ILO) has suggested this country develop and enact productivity legislation.

A press release from the NTC said the goal of the consultative process is to get stakeholders engaged through a series of town hall meetings, so that productivity can be formally outlined for each of their sectors.

“SSP will prepare a final report to the government, which will highlight the comprehensive responses from stakeholders as well as the recommendations on the structure, function, creation and implementation of the NPC,” the release states.

Farquharson added: “The productivity level over the past few years has reduced and it has cost our economy to not be as efficient as it can be.”

Sumner said the stakeholder input process will take about three to five months, after which a report will be presented to the government.

He explained that the improvement of productivity goes hand-in-hand with the accession to the World trade Organization (WTO) and the automation of many processes in business and government.

“When we look at the World Economic Forum and the ease of doing business index, as we’ve seen in the last several reports, we’ve seen that there has been a steady decline in the productivity in the country,” he said.

“With the introduction of WTO our workers, our citizens will have to compete against international persons locally or otherwise.”

Farquharson said if productivity is increased, the government could begin to look at the possibility of raising the country’s minimum wage.

“Minimum wage could be impacted if productivity is increased,” he said.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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