Productivity a priority in 20-year State plan

A representative from the Fiji National University speaks to Employment Minister Parveen Kumar at a national minimum wage consultation in Nadi yesterday. Picture: FELIX CHAUDHARY

EVERYBODY talks about increasing wages and salaries but not many people want to address the elephant in the room — productivity.

This was the comment made by Employment, Industrial Relations and Productivity Minister Parveen Kumar during a press conference after a national minimum wage consultation in Nadi yesterday.

He said Government, in partnership with the Asian Productivity Organization, had mapped out a plan to address the issue in a manner that ensured sustainability.

“Fiji has developed a 20-year development plan 2017-2036 and a comprehensive five-year plan 2017-2021,”he said.

“The 20-year plan places productivity as a priority area in the context of planning for inclusive socio-economic development plans.

“Productivity is a key factor for Fiji to raise living standards, improve people’s ability to purchase goods and services and help businesses to be more profitable and generally contribute to future economic growth.

“The 15-year National Productivity Master Plan 2021-2036 has been developed through the collaboration of the Asian Productivity Organization.

“This complements the 20-year national development plan and five-year plan to provide clear direction on the national productivity priorities for a sustainable Fiji.

“The ministry has been working with APO and they have done a master plan in this regard and in a few months time they are going to hand over the master plan to us — a way forward in terms of productivity for our country.

“As I have said before, everyone talks about wages and salaries, but nobody wants to talk about productivity.

“And that is the key, if productivity improves then any employer would want to put more in the pockets of their employees. “That is why we are doing this.”

Mr Kumar said there were also plans to revisit the National Productivity Council.

“This is something we have been talking about over and over again.

“This would include input from employers so that everyone can work together in order to lift productivity.

“We have to work together to achieve this and we will include the unions in these discussions.”

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