The Federal Government has called for increased productivity to counteract the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the age-long challenges of underdevelopment in the country.
Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, stated this as he flagged off the “Nigeria Public Sector Productivity and Innovation Summit”, organised by the National Productivity Centre, at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Yerima Peter Tarfa, PhD, Ngige posited that to recover from the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation has to increase its level of productivity.
According to him, “It is a known fact that for us to experience any form of growth in our economy and bounce back speedily from the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic, we will have to increase and grow our productivity.”
Ngige described as appropriate, the theme of the Summit: “Thriving at 60: Economic Productivity under Uncertain Times, Cutting through Complexities and Delivering Value”, noting that “those that will thrive under these uncertain times are those who are proactive and can deliver value added products in the ever dynamic and competitive market place.”
He noted that Nigeria’s challenges of underdevelopment, which had persisted over the years in spite of her natural and human resources, had been attributed mainly to “the abysmal performance of the various sectors of the economy on the productivity scale.”
The Minister stated that the government, however, had put in place a lot of social intervention programmes fund “to assist the populace to shake off the disruptive influence of COVID 19 Pandemic and thrive in the performance of their various economic activities.”
He listed the programmes to include the N50b Targeted Credit Facility for households and SME adversely affected by the effects of COVID-19; the N100b Health Sector COVID 19 Intervention Fund; N260b SME Survival Fund to sustain at least 500,000 jobs in 50,000 SMEs over a period of three months.
Ngige added that more important among the programmes is “the provision of 774,000 jobs across the country to positively engage the teeming Nigerian Youths in productive ventures.”
He urged the participants to take advantage of the Summit to improve on their knowledge of productivity, as well as on the ways and means of improving on individual and organizational productivity.
The Minister congratulated those considered for Productivity and Innovation Award at the Summit.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the Director-General, National Productivity Centre, Dr Kashim Akor, enjoined Nigerians, both at individual and organisational levels, to develop the productivity mindset that would steer the nation to greatness.
According to him, “Sustainable development can only be achieved if the economy becomes more efficiently and effectively operated.”
He tasked Nigerians on increased productivity at the various sectoral levels, as “Nigeria’s underdevelopment over the years has been attributed to the low productivity of the various sectors of the economy.”
The Director-General noted that the Summit would create the opportunity to seek ways of taking the country out of economic hardship and ensuring enhanced quality of life for the people.
He disclosed that the Summit was designed “to provide a platform for reviewing, appraising and scaling ideas, innovations and investments required to build and nurture a productive economy.”
According to him, the Summit would also “promote the relevance of Productivity Knowledge, Tools, Techniques and Processes to the Nigerian Public Sector as the main drivers of government policies and programmes.”
Akor further stated that as part of the two-day programme, the National Productivity Centre would celebrate some individuals and organizations as Productivity Champions with the conferment of Productivity and Innovations Award in recognition of their exceptional roles in enabling and facilitating growth in total factor productivity, as well as a way of spurring them on to greater accomplishments.