Think-tank proposes setting up central body to tackle sluggish productivity
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, November 23, 2012THE Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) has proposed establishing a central body to tackle Brunei’s low productivity rate.
Dr Diana Cheong, the chief researcher of CSPS, said the National Productivity Council’s (NPC) activities should fall under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office as it is a central body which all government agencies refer to.
“Hopefully, with very high senior leadership, this council will then tackle productivity in the long term,” she said during the Brunei Business Forum at The Radisson Hotel in the capital yesterday.
She described the proposal as a “long-term campaign” which will require the cooperation of government agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.
Some of the NPC’s areas of focus include education and training, policy reform, research and policy analysis, SMEs and enterprise, technological innovation and standards and cultural transformation.
“We are talking about looking at an integrated effort to mount productivity not just to change the mindset or mentality,” she said. It would be an overgeneralisation to say that individuals would need to change their mentality as it is a universal problem.
“People are happy, so there’s not much of a challenge because we are quite well-endowed with oil and gas, so labour is not so challenged to be ultra-productive like Singapore,” she said.
Dr Cheong said that the mindset of both employers and employees need to change.
“We want them to feel like they are captains of their industries at whatever level from the bottom up, and it is everybody that needs to change their mindset,” she said.
Changing mindsets is a problem that requires a multi-faceted approach, said the chief researcher, and must involve all parties.
Brunei may have seen improvements in the education sector, said Dr Cheong, but such improvements are “only incidental to productivity”.
“Improvement in education is not specifically for productivity, it’s for the overall development, and it is only incidental to productivity,” she said.
“What we want now is a specific council that addresses this and is specifically for production of manpower,” she said. The Brunei Times