Productivity in Tunisia is not yet that one urged by businesses, government and even foreign investors.
This delay is probably due to a slow dissemination of the culture of performance, but other factors are involved emphasizing the urgent necessity and even urgency to change things by developing new approaches and, more importantly, by working out a roadmap all actors of the production system and, first, human resources are required to comply with.
While progress has been made over the past twenty years, it is still absolutely necessary to go ahead by working more, but better as competition is particularly fierce in the global market and as competitiveness is measured in a very large in reference to productivity.
The Technical Commission of the national dialogue on improving productivity that has just released its report calls for bringing from 44% to 50% the contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) to economic growth. The recipe is all done: rational use of production capacity, adoption of new technologies and improvement of human resources and organizational modes.
It is true that Tunisia’s production fabric was involved in this approach and continues to do so, but not at the desired rate. Meanwhile, it is doing better than those of Egypt, Mauritius, Chile and Mexico, but not as well as Malaysia and South Korea ones and is still far from the United States and European Union countries that are major trading partners of Tunisia in terms of foreign trade and investment.
In this configuration, the chemical sector records a rate of 9.6% per year, followed by glass, ceramics and building materials and engineering industries. Services are performing fairly such transportation, while tourism has a poor record that doesn’t exceed 1%. However, the margin is a lot better in that it varies between 10 % and 20% according to the Technical Committee and between 20% and 40%, according to other projections.
Needless to say that progress is perfectly possible if investment in human resources goes beyond the 74% of businesses which are involved in this respect, according to a survey on the business climate and competitiveness, and if backing and supervision rate goes beyond that of 17% where it is confined since 2007, particularly in manufacturing industries.
Above all, companies are required to make more efforts in research and innovation to improve the product, production methods, work organization and technological content development. Studies mentioned by the Technical Committee show that lack of planning within the company and lack of control contribute to the decline in the efficiency of the company by 75% and hence reduce its productivity.
Efforts should strictly focus on the quality culture whose dissemination is a crucial factor in improving productivity, and this task is incumbent upon all partners, be they managers, technical staff, manpower, in short all actors in the production chain, particularly at the level of the 5000 companies operating in export whose role is even more significant in creating value and winning markets.
It remains that it is up to Tunisia to invest in appropriate production schemes based on the culture of productivity strongly emphasized during the national consultation, which implies the continuation of efforts aiming at increasing the overall productivity of all factors of production at an average rate of 3% during the next period, against 2% in the last decade.
To that end, it is necessary to accelerate the process of reforms in various areas, including those designed to promote integration into the international economy
Another factor in improving productivity is the maintenance of equipment (from the tender until the determination of procurement budgets and maintenance).
Investment in new technologies of communication and information is also an effective tool for improving productivity, especially as efforts are moving towards a knowledge-based economy.