National Productivity Institute (NPI): briefing

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Employment and Labour

16 June 2003
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Meeting report

LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 June 2003
NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY INSTITUTE (NPI): BRIEFING

Chairperson: Mr. S Manie

Relevant documents
 

Powerpoint presentation by the NPI:
(download the following files:

npi.zip, npi1 , npi2 and extract npi.zip)

SUMMARY
In its briefing, the NPI explained the different programs it was involved in. They pointed out that the programs were very successful and expanding. It did emerge that with more resources, more could be done.

MINUTES
The Chair opened the meeting by explaining that productivity was important for the growth of the South African economy. He expressed the hope that the NPI would address issues such as beneficiation, SMMEs and mechanisation in the workplace.

Mr. Z Cindi, deputy chairperson of the NPI Board, introduced the panel from the NPI and responded to the chair's comment by saying that there was a program in which gold beneficiation was being done. He also pointed out that October was productivity month and hoped that members of the committee would be able to attend some of the activities in the first week of October.

Dr. Y Dladla, the CEO of the NPI, and members of her team addressed the committee as in the Powerpoint presentation attached. They highlighted the Productivity Capacity Building Program (PCBP) which was targeted at SMMEs. It was also pointed out that research had shown that as employees took ownership of companies, productivity increased. A Productivity Accord was draughted recently which was towards the Growth and Development Summit held recently. It emerged that the NPI generated its own income when it did work for big companies and charged market related rates. Government grants were decreasing, but the DTI Workplace Challenge program was drawing in more income. In conclusion, Dr. Dladla said that they were limited in what they could do by the number of staff they had which totalled 98. They acted nationally and would like more resources so that they could make a difference.

The Chair added that as the NPI had more of an impact, more resources would become available.

Mr. Rasmeni (ANC) requested the documentation which dealt with employee share ownership. The challenges which the NPI faced also needed to be looked at together so that job creation could take place. He also felt that service providers needed to be checked so that they delivered results. He also appealed to the NPI help black construction companies as far as the quality of their work was concerned. This was important in the light of the fact that the BEE Bill would be passed soon. He applauded the PCBP and wanted to know how it could be used further.

Mr. Olifant (ANC) said that it was his experience that it was a problem to get business on board when wanting to start a project. He added that the potential was there to get businesses going but finances was a problem.

Mr. Moropa (ANC) said that the NPI needed to be strengthened through legislation. The definition of productivity also needed to be contextualised for the African continent. He also felt that the increase in productivity could not be ascribed to shareholding alone. There were a number of other issues that also had to be addressed. He also suggested that the school debates which were held by the NPI should be emphasised and be made part of the curriculum.

Mr. Mzondeki (ANC) suggested that members should encourage schools to get involved in the NPI program. He also felt that the NPI should brief the Portfolio Committee on Education about its programs. He asked how SMMEs could link up with the NPI and its programs. He expressed his happiness with the NPI's work regarding the disabled, but wanted to know whether its own employment equity program included people with disabilities.

Mr. Middelton (IFP) said that the perception still existed that productivity and production could be equated with the loss of jobs. He wanted to know whether this perception had changed at all.

The Chair said that awareness needed to be created around the Productivity Accord as it was an important starting point. He wanted to know what engagement and activities there had been so that the message reached the shop floor. He also wanted to know what the NPI's role was in the public sector so that things such as long queues could be improved. He felt that the direction the NPI was taking was good and that they were grappling with real issues. It was his opinion that extra resources were not needed, but that other government departments needed the NPI as they were addressing real issues.

Mr. Cindi replied that the NPI's role was interventionist and to enhance production capacity. It was not a service provider. He promised that the NPI would reply to all the questions in writing as there was not enough time to address it at the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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