Bots and Nam in productivity coalition
> Timo Shihepo
Windhoek – Botswana and Namibia have taken the lead in implementing the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)’s 1999 Declaration on Productivity through sharing of ideas.
The Declaration on Productivity was signed by the SADC Heads of State and Government in Mozambique in 1999 as a result of disconcerting low levels of productivity throughout the region.
The declaration required every SADC member country to have a productivity movement in place and it was because of this that officials from Botswana – whose country has already launched theirs – last week attended Namibia’s movement on October 9, in Windhoek.
During the official launch of Namibia Productivity Movement, the Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Minister, Erkki Nghimtina noted that the movement is a milestone in the country’s social and economic development.
“The importance of improving productivity cannot be underestimated, as this can lead to economic growth, employment creation, job opportunities and job security, and moreover improves the standard of living of the people.
“However the desired productivity level in Namibia is not expected to improve significantly without a comprehensive productivity agenda and commitment to implement the agenda,” he said.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare several years ago was entrusted by Cabinet to spearhead the national productivity initiative, he said, adding that a productivity promotion unit was created in 2010 to start the process of promoting productivity.
“I would like to commend the members of the Productivity Unit for their pioneering work to bring us to the point where we are in a position to launch this Productivity Movement.”
In preparation for the launch, Nghimtina said his ministry has produced Namibia’s Productivity Baseline Statistics Report that gives a clear picture of Namibia’s level of productivity in the four key economic sectors of agriculture, logistics, manufacturing and tourism.
In addition, the fishing and mining sectors also form part of the report “as they are also regarded as major contributors to the national economy,” he said.
In order to speed up the process of Productivity Movement, in 2013 Namibia joined the Pan-Africa Productivity Association (PAPA) which promotes the development of a productivity culture in African economies and aims to facilitate the establishment of National Productivity Centres in All African countries.
Namibia and Botswana have joined countries such as Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, Singapore and Japan that already have productivity centres.
Minister Nghimtina said Namibia also intends to have the productivity concept integrated in the school curriculum in order to reach all schools country wide.
He believes that starting with school learners will help to instil a productivity mind-set in them while at a young age and increase their social consciousness in becoming productive citizens in the world they work.
“I am calling upon all of us, to improve the current situation, no matter how good it may seem and no matter how good it may really be. We must accelerate our pace in terms of service delivery and at the same time, enhance the efficiency and effectiveness to utilise resources at our disposal to yield desired outputs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Matlho Jennifer Kgosi of the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) said that although the productivity movement in his country is active and aligned to national development planning, there are key mistakes learnt from the last 10 years.
“The BNPC Act of 1993 has not been reviewed yet while much has changed. A board of 13 is too big. Too many board members are from government.
“Also the BNPC Strategic Plan of 1998/99 -2003/2004 specified that the centre should begin charging for services by its 5th anniversary. Consequences are that services to the wider movement which includes SMEs, NGOs and Labour Movement were scaled down,” said Kgosi.