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APO 60th Anniversary Program: International Conference on Productivity Accreditation and Certification [5–6 October, Pakistan]

Opening Remarks by APO Secretary-General
Dr. Indra Pradana Singawinata

  • E. Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud,
  • Federal Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, Imdadullah Bosal,
  • CEO, National Productivity Organization Pakistan, Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry, and
  • Distinguished Speakers, Delegates, and Guests:

AsSalm-o-Alikum and Good Morning!

I am delighted to attend the International Conference on Productivity Accreditation and Certification to commemorate the Asian Productivity Organization’s (APO’s) Diamond Jubilee. It is a great privilege and honor for me to be entrusted by the Governing Body as the 13th Secretary-General of the APO. Former Secretaries-General contributed to the tremendous growth of the APO over the years since its establishment in 1961. I sincerely hope that I will be able to continue that growth during my tenure. This is my first official overseas engagement after assuming the post of APO Secretary-General on 16 September 2022, and I hope to maximize the benefits of this opportunity to be here Islamabad.

History of the APO began when an interim committee was assigned to draft a convention for the formation of an Asian productivity body at the 1st Asian Round Table Productivity Conference in Tokyo in 1959 and the APO convention was signed in Manila on 14 April 1961. As a result, the APO was born on 11 May 1961. The productivity journey began with the eight founding members of the Republic of China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and the host of this conference, Pakistan.

From its formal establishment in 1961 with eight founding members, to its 60th anniversary in 2021, the APO has grown steadily in scope, ambition, and membership. Today, the APO has 21 members that are geographically, economically, and culturally diverse but share the conviction that productivity gains through mutual cooperation are the key to inclusive, sustainable social and economic progress and prosperity

The five key roles of the APO are think tank, catalyst, regional adviser, institution builder, and clearinghouse for productivity information).

Based on these roles, the APO has been providing assistance to its members through various initiatives since its inception. Its progress during six decades cannot be summarized in this short time. However, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few.

  • The Technical Expert Service (TES) Program was the first initiative launched in 1961. Under this program, the APO engages specialists in a range of topics at the request of members for in-country consultancy to boost national productivity by providing real-world solutions to problems.
  • Recognizing the important role of National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) in the productivity movement, the Bilateral Cooperation between NPOs Program was launched in 1978. It aims to strengthen networks, share best practices, and facilitate benchmarking.
  • The Green Productivity (GP) Program was launched in 1994 as a practical way to answer the challenge of sustainable development. The objective of the APO’s GP Program is to enhance productivity and simultaneously reduce negative impacts on the environment. After more than three decades, the APO is now revisiting the concept to align with the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Another initiative is Centers of Excellence (COE).The first COE was established in Singapore in 2009, focusing on Business Excellence, followed by the COE on Green Productivity in the Republic of China, COE on Public-sector Productivity in the Philippines, COE on IT for Industry 4.0 in India, and COE on Smart Manufacturing in the Republic of China.
  • In 2017, we introduced a new initiative called the Specific National Program. This assists members in developing national productivity master plans as well as strengthening the role of NPOs. Productivity master plans for Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Lao PDR, and Vietnam have been developed, and the plan for Pakistan is in the final stage of development.
  • To support APO members amid a severe socioeconomic crisis caused by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, a Special Account for Business Recovery and Resilience was introduced to strengthen the digital capability of NPOs and the resilience of SMEs and affected sectors in member countries. All member countries have benefited from this program.
  • The regular Multicountry Programs cover the industry, service, agriculture, and public sectors and continue to provide practical training, share best practices, and promote knowledge development. They are also venues for all members to network and collaborate. During the pandemic, the APO continued activities by utilizing the digital platform. As the pandemic situation improved, we have started to resume face-to-face activities, and this conference is the first face-to-face event after more than two years.

It is a fortunate moment for representatives from APO members to gather to review efforts to enhance the capabilities of NPOs through accreditation programs. The Accreditation Program is one of the latest initiatives of the APO to raise its visibility as a leading productivity organization. Recognizing the competency and credibility of NPOs or their affiliates as APO-accredited certification bodies (CBs) will build APO brand awareness, cultivate and expand a community of experts, and strengthen APO leadership in the area of productivity.

After the introduction of the program in 2018, I am pleased to share that the NPOs of Malaysia and Vietnam successfully completed the processes and requirements to become APO-accredited CBs in 2021, while India, Indonesia, I.R. Iran Pakistan, and Turkiye will be joining them soon. Accreditation of NPOs is expected to elevate their capability, adding new skill sets and competencies that are critical for their countries.

I hope that this conference will enhance collaboration among NPOs and other stakeholders on the specialized subject of accreditation. I also hope that we can discuss the changes that are required to sustain productivity growth in the aftermath of the pandemic.

I would like to extend sincere appreciation to the Government of Pakistan for hosting this conference. We are grateful to H.E. Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud for gracing this conference today despite his busy schedule as well as to the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, and APO Director for Pakistan Imdadullah Bosa.

Finally, special thanks go to CEO of the NPO of Pakistan Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry and his dedicated staff members who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth organization of this conference.

I hope that this conference is a productive occasion for all participants.

Thank you.

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