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The strong network of national productivity organizations (NPOs) and their interest in mutual cooperation has been one the strengths of the APO. NPOs share many similarities in terms of roles, functions, and challenges faced in promoting productivity in their countries. However, at the same time, each NPO has a unique structure and areas of expertise. This allows ample scope for NPOs to learn from each other under the APO umbrella for institutional strengthening. To nurture such beneficial interactions among NPOs, the APO sponsors the visits of high-level officials, policymakers, and opinion leaders from one member country to another under the Bilateral Cooperation Between NPOs (BCBN) scheme.
The most recent BCBN beneficiary was Bangladesh, which dispatched three delegates to the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and Japan Productivity Center (JPC), 15−19 February. The delegates were particularly interested in collecting ideas on productivity improvement plans and programs developed by these NPOs to incorporate them into the five-year plan of Bangladesh. The DAP arranged meetings with senior managers and experts in connection with the Philippine Quality Awards, productivity promotion programs, and relevant organizations for the special guests. At the JPC, delegates heard presentations on the productivity movement in Japan and the JPC as well as the Japan Quality Awards. JPC President Tsuneaki Taniguchi welcomed the guests and shared his views and ideas on the productivity and NPOs’ roles and activities.
The delegates, led by APO Director for Bangladesh Dewan Zakir Hussain, Secretary, Ministry of Industries, also visited the Secretariat on 18 February to meet APO Secretary-General Shigeo Takenaka and receive a departmental briefing on major APO programs and activities. Secretary-General Takenaka laid out the recent changes to and development of the Japanese government as well as the main issues and concerns to be discussed at the upcoming Governing Body Meeting. In response to the Secretary-General’s request for the support of Bangladesh, Director Hussain replied that, “Member countries have benefited from the APO’s work. Therefore there is no doubt that all of us will give our support to the APO.”
Director Hussain also emphasized the importance of productivity in the context of the economic and social development of Bangladesh and stated, “We should help our governments to understand the importance of productivity and the roles of the APO.” All four departments of the Secretariat later made presentations on their major programs and activities. Director Hussain and other delegates engaged enthusiastically with Secretariat officers, with numerous questions and suggestions exchanged.