Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, says Nigeria is abundantly blessed in human and natural resources, but lags behind smaller or even less-endowed African countries in productivity and competitiveness.
Mr Ngige said this at a news conference to commemorate the 17th National Productivity Day and Conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) 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.
“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.
He said that the present administration’s commitment to the change and sustainable growth cannot be overemphasised 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.
“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.
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.
Speaking, Kashim Akor, Director-General, National Productivity Centre (NPC), said that selection of the awardees was done by a committee set up for the purpose of the nomination.
Mr 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 based on those that are contributing to the diversification aspect of the government.
“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.
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.