Trinidad and Tobago’s low productivity levels are driving production costs up, Minister of Labour Errol McLeod said yesterday.
Speaking at the ministry’s FairShare Exposition at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya he said productivity levels were lagging behind.
“When we have low productivity levels then our costs are high. Enough of us don’t understand that low productivity levels are high cost production. We must strive to get the value out of every dollar that we spend, whether it is on wages, whether it is on procurement of raw materials, goods and services.
“If we are not competitive in that regard then we find ourselves at the end of the line and hands outstretched waiting for a fish that someone may be charitable enough to give us, rather than seizing the opportunity to learn to fish,” he said.
McLeod also pointed out that Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs)—which account for more than 90 per cent of all businesses in the country—must work diligently to succeed and recognise the importance of innovation in business in order to be competitive.
“They must be consistent in their efforts and ensure that their practices are fair. This is not like spending a Lotto ticket for $5 and waking up the next morning and seeing the number telling you that you have won the prize. This is hard work. This involves consistency, this involves sacrifices,” he pointed out.
McLeod said the Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprises had to consider seriously the proposals that came before it for the investment of capital towards businesses.
“A business will never be successful if its owner delivers no quality goods or services and is disrespectful to customers,” he said.
McLeod told the audience that Government represented the largest purchaser of goods and services and therefore will help to provide the market to contribute to the expansion of small and medium enterprises in the country.
This country is small, he said, but there are considerable resources and opportunities for people to develop their skills and an attitude of self sustenance and self development.
He said the Expo provided the opportunity for SMEs to display their skills services and network.
“SMEs cannot continue to operate in isolation. It is time to bring them together to present the opportunity for the building of relationships,” he added.