By Funmi Komolafe &Â Victor Ahiuma-Young
SINCE the establishment of the National Productivity Centre (NPC), in 1987, with the mandate to stimulate productivity consciousness in all sectors of Nigerian economy, with the aim ofÂ generatingÂ visible improvement in the quantity and quality of services rendered and goods produced, the centre has been trying its best to keep faith with this mandate amidst very difficult operating environment.
However, the level of productivity in Nigeria has continued to be a source of disagreement between Nigerian employers and workers in relation to remuneration. Also it isÂ common knowledge that no economy can grow withoutÂ productivity.
To ensureÂ citizens imbibe the culture of productivity, the Dr Paul Bdliya ledÂ Â management of NPCÂ is embarking on aÂ Productivity Awareness Campaign (PAC)Â which is to institutionalize productivity culture in the Nigerian people using the mass media as its strategic tool andÂ focusing on jingles, debates, advertisement, press briefing and so on through various media.
Expatiating on PAC during a recent visit to the corporate head office of Vanguard Newspapers in Lagos, the Director-General of NPC, Dr. Bdliya, noted that it is a well-known fact that the average Nigerian isÂ hard working
According to him: â€œManifestation of our legendary industriousness and entrepreneurial instincts abounds – preponderance of self-employed persons, smalt-businesses in all field, and a vibrant press etc.
Unfortunately, whatâ€™ should have conferredÂ a clear competitive advantage is threatened by manifestations of some undesirable elements of work culture -elements, thatÂ appearÂ to be washing away whatever competitive advantage our natural inclination for hard work confers.
A cultural diagnosis of Nigeriaâ€™s pervading work mindset would reveal the following undesirable traits: lateness, absenteeism, indolence, poor time management, culture of waste and profligacy, poor maintenance culture, nepotism cronyism etc. The bad situation is further compounded by low productivity consciousness.
In Nigeria, people are generally ignorant of the true meaning of the concept of productivity. To many of us, productivity is merely working harder- rather than smarter or wiser. Many also believed that being seriously engaged in activitiesÂ is all about productivity – even if such activities are not result-oriented, or add any value.
To others, the concept has relevance only in terms of physical, tangible goods and not the intangible, service products. All the negative mindsets, needless to say translates to low productivity that single most crucial determinant of a countryâ€™s product/service competitiveness and standard of living.â€
â€œThere are chilling statistics to back this up: Recent Global competitiveness rankings released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) revealed a declineÂ in Nigeriaâ€™s ranking from 93 in 2005 to 101 in 2007. The same WEF ranked Nigeria 95th out of the 100 on the list of worst place to do business. No doubt, the foregoing pervading norms and mindsets are unquestionably dysfunctional for the nationâ€™s productivity. health and development.
This poor productivity awareness no doubts requires urgent attention. At the NPC, we feelÂ there is an urgent need for a reinforcement of public-understanding of the concept of productivity. We however also recognize that we cannot do this alone. We need active cooperation and support of our social partners, particularly the press. At the NPC, we recognize the press as an integral part of the productivity crusade.
We believe the press must play an important role in supporting the productivity promotion efforts. It is in this regard we considered the Press and media as a strategic tool to fill the productivity vacuum in the country.
To do this therefore, We implore the press to become a source of information for shaping public opinion and become the productivity spokesman of the people. As the watchdog of the society, you owe it a duty to create the needed productivity awareness amongst the populace. This may be in terms of reporting, as well as the content of your news.â€
Award to deservingÂ Nigerians
While inauguratingÂ the Productivity Order of Â Â Â Merit AwardÂ Â Committee, labour minister,Â Prince AdetokunboÂ Kayode said for Nigeria to attain her goal of becoming one of the largest economies by 2020, â€œ productivity improvement at allÂ the sectoral levelsÂ occupies a prime positionâ€.
Throwing more light on theÂ objective of the award, he said,Â it is â€œto recognizeÂ and honour at the national levelÂ the most productive organizations and individuals inÂ NigeriaÂ in the yearÂ of the award for achievement made in the three preceding yearsâ€.
Apart from this, the awardÂ is to â€œ instutionaliseÂ productivity consciousness and excellenceÂ in service among workers and organizationsÂ inÂ both public and private sectors of Nigeria , emphasizing hard work, high performance, efficiency, discipline, dedication, humility, patriotism and selfless serviceâ€.
It is alsoÂ to â€œ ensureÂ a high level of effectiveness and efficiency inÂ the implementationÂ of public policies and programmes of various public servicesâ€.
The National Productivity Centreâ€™s director-general, Dr. PaulÂ BdliyaÂ explained â€œ at the individual level,Â the award seeks to reward virtues of hard work, reliability, innovativeness, creativity and contributionsÂ to communities and organizations.
At the corporate level,Â it seeks to acknowledge organizations that are self reliant in their adaptation and application of technology in order to guaranteeÂ for themselvesÂ cause effective operations and productive efficiencyâ€.
According to Dr. Bdliya, it alsoÂ â€œ recognizes companiesÂ which show a trend for sustained increases of the years in such vital areasÂ as local sourcing of raw materials, capacity utilization, sales turnover, employment generation, employeeÂ welfare scheme and training facilitiesâ€.Â Who is qualified?Â â€œÂ Â AllÂ Â NigeriansÂ resident in Nigeria and all organizations operatingÂ in Nigeria are eligible for the awardâ€.
Prince Kayode said, â€œ To match theÂ award with honour, dignity and the respect it richly deserves, the maximum number of awardsÂ for each year shall be 15 individuals while organizations shall be five.Â All awardees shall be accorded the same rights and priviledges as are applicable to other national awardsâ€.
The chairman of the merit award committee,Â Chief ArohunmolaseÂ Â BaileyÂ who promised thatÂ his committee would live up to expectationÂ acknowledged that â€œ no meaningfulÂ programmeÂ for raising the levelÂ of the standard of livingÂ of the people can yield fruitful dividend without significant improvementÂ in the productivity of all sectors of the economyâ€.
He said â€œ a way of ensuringÂ that realization of our dream of a productive societyÂ is the putting in place of adequate motivation and reward systemâ€.