Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, says Nigeria is abundantly blessed in human and natural resources, but unfortunately lags behind smaller or even less-endowed African countries in productivity and competitiveness.
Ngige said this at a news conference to commemorate the 17th National Productivity Day and Conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit Award on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the President Muhammadu Buhari has approved May 22, for the 2018 annual National Productivity Day and Conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit Award.
According to him, Nigeria is abundantly blessed in human and natural resources, but unfortunately lags behind smaller or even less-endowed African countries in productivity and competitiveness.
Ngige said: “In order to achieve high productivity and competitiveness, therefore, Nigeria‘s productivity and competitiveness gap, as a matter of priority, needs to be closed.
“So, real competitiveness means the ability to produce goods and services that can compete in the domestic and international markets while promoting and maintaining a high living standard and quality of life for the people.
“Therefore, only nations with organisations that have high levels of productivity will become domestically and globally competitive.
“This has the capacity to exploit existing market opportunities to sustain and expand employment and real income growth in the long term.”
He said that the present administration’s commitment to the change and sustainable growth cannot be over emphansied as it would improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
He said that the government was conscious of the critical place of productivity in the realisation of the change agenda.
He said: “As no nation can be self-reliant and competitive in the international market without productivity improvement in all sectors of the economy.
“Productivity is indeed the most important determinant of socio-economic growth, wealth creation, employment generation and overall improved standard of living. Indeed, no nation enjoys a standard of living higher than its level of productivity.
“Given this cardinal role of productivity, it is imperative that the citizenry be consistently reminded of the need for developing a productive mindset that would ensure the productivity growth of all sector of the economy.’’
He said it was against the backdrop that the Federal Government through the National Policy on Productivity declared that a day shall be observed as the National Productivity Day throughout the country yearly.
The minister said the observance of the day and the conferment of the award was one positive step by the government to institutionalise productivity consciousness and excellence in service among workers and organisations in Nigeria.
Ngige said that this would also redirect workers and organisations efforts to the growth and development of the economy.
He added that as more organisations and individuals are recognised and rewarded for higher productivity through the award, the foundation for productivity consciousness and improvement is indeed being laid and consolidated in Nigeria.
He also appealed to Nigerians to reflect deeply on the significance of the celebration, especially on the face of Mr. President Change Agenda and the vision of maintaining the tempo of economic recovery.
The minister said that the award committee was an independent committee that conducted a thorough screening exercise, recommended 15 individuals and five organisations drawn from all sector of the economy.
Ngige said the awardees includes: Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Civil Service of the Federation; Sam Ohuabunwa, Dr Abdul Husseni, Farm Crowdy Nig. Ltd, Fresh Direct Nigeria, among others
Speaking, Kashim Akor, Director-General, National Productivity Centre, said that selection of the awardees was done by a committee set up for the purpose of the nomination.
Akor said the nomination of the individuals’ awardees was based on efficiency, hard work, innovation, creativity, punctuality, among others to the development of their organizations.
He also noted that the nomination for the companies was also based on those that are contributing to the diversification aspect of the government.
He said: “We also look at their contributions to the economy, generation of wealth, creation of jobs, and acclaimed breakthrough in terms of research among others.”
He said as part of the programme to mark the day there would an Award Lecture with the theme: “Productivity for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth’’ by Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.