Tuesday, 9 May 2017

(The Star) Blueprint to boost productivity

PUTRAJAYA: To become an advanced nation by 2020, Malaysia must record a labour productivity growth of 3.7% annually, among other conditions. But it has been registering a mere 1.8% between 2011 and 2015.

The Government has come up with the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint to help rectify this.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the blueprint sets out strategies and plans to ensure the country achieves its productivity targets.

“Productivity is the main driver of our economic growth.

“While we have managed to record encouraging economic growth amid global uncertainties and challenges, we need to further strengthen our resilience.

“We can do so by boosting productivity because this will ensure sustainable growth,” Najib said at the launch of the blueprint.

It outlines five strategies. Building a workforce of the future by formulating a comprehensive labour market policy, including reducing reliance on low-wage and low-skilled workers, is one.

Next is driving digitalisation and innovation by strengthening readiness, knowledge and adoption of technology.

Then there is making industries accountable for productivity by gradually reducing reliance on non-critical subsidies, and ensuring liberalisation efforts are linked to productivity outcomes.

Najib, who earlier chaired a Productivity Council meeting, said the Government wanted the way foreign workers were managed to be restructured.

It also wanted more small and medium-scale enterprises to adopt innovative technologies, as well as to embed productivity targets for enterprises.

A nexus of three productivity sectors has been launched with grants of RM5mil each, he said. These are food and beverage, and retail; electrical and electronic; and chemical products.

The facility will be extended to other sectors later, such as machinery and equipment; tourism and agro food; and private healthcare services.

“By ensuring high productivity, the economy will be competitive and will record strong growth.

“Businesses will register higher profits if productivity is high. This will generate high-income job opportunities.

“And with high productivity, the people will earn more and enjoy a better quality of life,” Najib said.