TO ALL JOURNALISTS AND NEWS EDITORS
RE: During Productivity Month (October), which starts on the 1st of October- South Africa needs to improve its productivity post Covid-19 says Productivity SA
1 October 2020
South Africa needs to urgently improve its productivity which is a driver of sustained competitiveness and economic growth in order to ameliorate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is one of the recommendations contained in the Productivity SA document detailing a way forward for unlocking South Africa‘s productivity potential for sustained competitiveness and economic growth beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this document, Productivity SA proposes some recommendations to what it believes must be at the heart of the entity‘s economic response to the South African economic challenges. The document was submitted to the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) as the entity ‘s contribution to NEDLAC deliberations on Economic Recovery Plan post COVID-19, leading to urgent interventions, coordinated by the DEL in collaboration with other Economic Cluster Depts
The document is to be formally launched at the start of Productivity Month this week. Productivity Month is an annual campaign aimed at promoting productivity and competitiveness in the country. 2020 Productivity Month comes in the backdrop of Covid-19 and the theme for 2020 Productivity Month is ‘‘Unlocking South Africa’s productivity potential for sustained competitiveness and economic growth post Covid-19”.
During Productivity Month, October, the importance of productivity in enhancing economic growth will be highlighted through advocacy and public awareness campaigns including productivity workshops, webinars and Productivity awards in Limpopo and launch of the Productivity Statistics Report. The rationale behind Productivity Month is to showcase, share ideas, methods and perspectives on how companies can improve productivity through the implementation of Productivity SA programmes. The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity SA, Mr. Mothunye Mothiba, says the “theme for the 2020 Productivity Month reflects the solutions to the current challenges facing the country”. Mr Mothiba says, “the continued lack of a productivity-enhancing national policy and productivity culture as essential instruments for economic transformation undermine our country’s ability to unlock its productivity potential for sustained competitiveness and economic growth. Our interventions and Plans as a country should highlight the need for productivity to be addressed holistically at all levels (national, sector and enterprise) to ensure a systemic change across the economy, which is a departure from previous fragmented efforts to raise productivity. It is pivotal that, we should incessantly direct our energies to enhancing the productivity and operational efficiency of SMMEs to improve their competitiveness and sustainability to preserve current jobs and create decent jobs which the economy requires the most beyond COVID-19. There is evidence that SMMEs and entrepreneurs are innovators with tremendous potential to drive sustainable and inclusive growth through the employment they generate, the business practices they choose to adopt, the sectors in which they operate, and are the backbone of a thriving society. We need to turn our attention and focus to improving the competitiveness and performance of our economy targeting the priority economic sectors which are identified in the Sector Master Plans. Moving forward, fostering a productivity culture and mind-set, as well as to underscore productivity as a catalyst for sustained competitiveness and economic growth is critical if we are to reset and transform our economy. A productivity mind-set embraces the value of “doing what I do today better than I did yesterday, and even better tomorrow”. This is a principle of continuously aspiring towards implementing enhanced techniques to accomplish tasks and conduct business. At the heart of productivity is the individual.
Productivity Month is an annual campaign, during October, which aims to elevate the significance of productivity and inculcate a culture of competitiveness in every South African. During Productivity month, everyone is urged to recognise that productivity and competitiveness are a priority and fundamental bedrock for growth. Throughout Productivity Month, the value of productivity in enhancing economic growth and job creation is brought to the fore through a series of awareness campaigns, workshops and webinars
In the document, Productivity SA has called for South African policy to be guided by a structured and concerted effort to place productivity growth at the pinnacle of key economic growth policies. The duality nature and structure of the South African economy requires urgent restructuring and reform, which must be built on policy coherence and policy certainty across government, a close collaborative effort between government, business and labour; a commitment to ensure that the vertical and horizontal linkages between the primary and secondary productive sectors of the economy are maximised; as well as a combined and constructive drive to overcome the key constraints to manufacturing-led, value-adding growth, with special emphasis on labour-intensive sectors as advanced in the Sector Master Plans, such as agro-processing and clothing and textiles.
Through this document, Productivity SA proposes an approach which focuses on four pillars, namely, an Integrated Training and Skills Development Ecosystem, Strategy and Programmes to encourage life-long learning, which calls for strengthening of South Africa’s human capital, which can help guide both public-sector and private sector organisations to create ‘retraining engines’ to enable lifelong learning.
The second pillar is an Integrated Enterprise Development Ecosystem to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises, with a focus on SMMEs; a policy decision that financial support by DFAs (SEFA, IDC, NEF, etc.) to SMMEs should be linked to productivity outcomes, and that non-financial (Enterprise Development Programmes) support should be coordinated.
The third pillar is an Integrated Research and Innovation Ecosystem to ensure the provision of productivity and competitiveness related value-added information and statistics to inform evidence-based planning as well as monitoring and evaluating the impact of our interventions.
The fourth pillar is the development of a national Productivity Movement to promote a stronger culture of productivity at all levels and build awareness of the importance of and new mind-set about productivity in South Africa, which could pave the way for many more ‒ and more highly paid ‒ jobs and ultimately a more inclusive society.
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