Govt targets 5.6pc annual productivity growth
The government has targeted an annual average productivity growth rate of 5.6 per cent for the next 10 years as it is set to begin implementing the Bangladesh National Productivity Master Plan from January next year.
The plan, which spans from 2021 to 2030, has been prepared by the National Productivity Organisation (NPO) of the industries ministry and the Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organisation based in Japan.
The plan has been prepared to help the country achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, implement the Eighth Five-Year Plan, and improve productivity, quality and competitiveness.
The government is working to implement the plan to increase productivity at the national level, said Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun yesterday at a programme organised to mark the National Productivity Day, themed "Productivity for Irresistible Advancement."
"The industries ministry is working to increase the productivity at the national level to 5.6 per cent by 2030."
Bangladesh's national productivity growth rate averaged 3.8 per cent between 1995 and 2016.
The minister said at present, the level of productivity in Bangladesh was not as high as in many other countries.
"This is one of the main reasons for our economy lagging behind other economies," he said, adding that the country needed to raise productivity in a systematic and consistent manner in all sectors of the economy.
Bangladesh lags all seven garment-producing Asian countries except Nepal and Cambodia in terms of apparel labour productivity per hour despite being the second-largest garment exporter in the world after China.
According to the APO Productivity Data Book-2020, Bangladesh's labour productivity is 10.4 per cent. The average labour productivity in South Asian and the APO countries is 16.3 per cent and 27.8 per cent, respectively.
"On the back of the master plan, we will be able to reach our goal," said Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana.
Nutrition is also related to labour productivity. And the World Health Organisation says adequate nourishment can raise national productivity by 20 per cent. According to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Switzerland-based international organisation, about 43 per cent of garment workers were suffering from malnutrition.
Providing access to nutritious and safe food to the workers can ensure utilisation of the full potential or productivity of workers, it said.
"Most of the garment workers in Bangladesh can no longer survive in the industry when they are 40 or 45 years old, although the law says that they can work for up to 60 years. This is because of malnutrition. Their children also suffer from malnutrition," said Nazma Akter, president of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation.
She said Cambodia and Vietnam entered the apparel business after Bangladesh, but they had moved ahead as their employees were provided with free, healthy lunches.
"The master plan has been formulated. Now the action plan is being prepared," Faizur Rahman Faruqui, the immediate past director of the NPO, told The Daily Star.
The agency has until December to draw up the action plan.
The master plan will be implemented in three phases, and a monitoring team will look after the whole process, said Faruqui.
"If we can achieve this as per our plan, our productivity growth will reach 5.6 per cent."