President J.A. Kufuor has reminded key players in the Ghanaian economy that without a concerted effort at raising productivity, attempts at increasing salaries and wages will remain elusive goals.
He has, therefore, charged the Ghana Employers Association (GEA), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment to come up with national productivity indicators to guide the industrial sector of the economy towards increased productivity.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Energy, Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, at the Annual General Meeting of the GEA, the President cautioned that “unless we work hard to increase productivity to make our enterprises competitive on the global market and create the needed employment for our youth, increase in wages and salaries will elude us”.
President Kufuor stated that the government, for its part, would hold ministers and their management teams accountable to the requirements set out in the Public Service Customer Charters.
He added that critical to the quest to attain increased productivity levels was the need to ensure discipline in all aspects of business endeavour.
The President observed that the issue of a national campaign for increased productivity was what had made some countries economically strong.
“These countries, through hard work and the setting of productivity indicators, as well as ensuring that office holders are accountable to those indicators, have produced great results for increased per capita income and standard of living,” he noted.
The President said the government recognised the need for technical and vocational training and had, therefore, passed the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training Act to deepen technical education as an integral part of the country's economic development.
President Kufuor stated that he was aware that the Management, Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) was focused on the provision of management training in order to grow its internally generated funds.
He said the government was, therefore, committed to resourcing the institute to refocus on productivity improvement in both the public and the private sectors, in line with the government's objectives outlined in the GPRS II.
He said that would be achieved through the provision of adequate government subvention and earmarked funding for contract research into productivity improvement programmes and commercialisation of research output and services.
On industrial attachment, the President stated that the government duly appreciated the need for industry and training institutions to collaborate in ensuring that graduates from the country's training institutions met the skill needs of industry.
For his part, the President of the GEA, Mr Charles Cofie, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Ghana Limited, pointed out that productivity improvement in the country had been very slow.
He said that had become an issue at the national, sectoral and enterprise levels in both the private and the public sectors.
He explained that those challenges had resulted in a situation where workers' wages and salaries were being determined by factors such as fuel price hikes and increases in utility tariffs, factors he described as being exogenous to productivity.