November 7, 2013

A productive nation, a wealthy nation – Wogu

*Chief Emeka Wogu, Minister of Labour and Productivity

By Funmi Komolafe

In recent times, the state of the economy of Nigeria has remained a topic for discussion. Whereas those in government insist the economy is on the right track, others ( not necessarily members of opposition parties) have a different view. For the latter, the economy has not recorded any significant growth. So, what’s the key to making Nigeria’s economy viable and visible for everyone; officials and non-officials. The Federal Ministry of Labour believes the key is “ productivity”. It was therefore no surprise that the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, launched the National Policy on Produtivity.

THE launch took off with an address by the Director-General, DG, of the National Productivity Centre, Dr. Paul Mari Bdliya who said “ the importance of productivity in any economy cannot be overemphasized”. Why? He expalined, “ This is because it the level of productivity that makes the difference between the relative poverty of the developing countries and the national affluence of the developed and industrialized nations”.

*Chief Emeka Wogu, Minister of Labour and Productivity

*Chief Emeka Wogu, Minister of Labour and Productivity

To survive economically, he suggested, “ a nation needs to evolve a culture of productivity in all its undertakings”.

Dr. Bdliya said “ Nigeria as a country is not bereft of good ideas , sound socio-economic programmes and well articulated policies that are capable of transforming the country into a developed economy. However, the lack of explicit National Policy on Productivity has been singled out as the missing link that deprived past policies, plans and programmes, a strategic point of synergy for effective and efficient implementation , hence their inability to achieve their desired goals and objectives”.

According to him, the basic philosophy of the policy is to have a systematic and comprehensive programme of implementation on improving the productivity of Labour, Capital and machine and indeed other definable inputs of production of goods and services for the various sectors of the economy”.

The Head of Service of the Federation, HOS, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji who chaired the occasion noted that the essentials of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan  which  includes, sound fiscal monetary system, reforms in  budget and revenue base to drive the economy, reforms in the real sector, power, judiciary and manufacturing are all geared towards human capital development.

Alhaji Goni said one way of being productive is to actively support the transformation agenda.

Dr. Bdliya could not agree more but said “ The need to articulate a Natitonal Policy on Productivity that will create a productive mindset and engender a competitive environment for the actualization of programmes and policies geared towards wealth creation, emploment generation and overall improvement in the standard of living of the citizenry therfore becomes very compelling”.

Why a policy on Productivity?

Chief Emeka Wogu has the answer.

He said, “ the need to imbibe the culture of prodctivity to the entire citizenry in all sectors of the economy and emphasize its implication in harnessing our available resources in the pursuit of economic development has become more compelling than ever before in view of this administration’s avowed Transformation Agenda.”

“The role of prodcutivity in our economy is critical, because productivity is not limited to economic development alone, but also borders on politicial and social development.”

The minister further explained, “ There can be no meaningful and sustainable development without concerted efforts to institutionalize productivity and productivity advancement structures at all levels of governance and sectors of the society. Against this premise, the place of productivity as a veritable tool in the achievement of government Transformation Agenda and indeed the actualization of vision 20:2020 cannot be overemphasized”. He said, “ The National Policy on Productivity is therefore our concerted response to the challenges of our underdevelopment due to the nation’s low level of prodcutivity. The low level of produtivity observed in our services and social sectors has highlighted the need to develop the Policy on Productivity”.

The productivity policy

Dr. Bdliya told the story of how the Policy was conceived and said, on assumption of office, Labour minister, Chief Emeka Wogu “ constituted a Technical Committee drawn from the Productivity Measurement Department of the ministry and the National Prooductivity Centre to provide the framwork and a draft National Policy on Productivity in collaboration with our social partners and relevant stakeholders”.

The draft he said “ was validated at a stakeholder’s workshop organized on 22nd July 2010 in Abuja and approved by the National Economic Council in November 2011 and the Federal Executive Council on 15th February, 2012.”

He said, the policy “ is a strategic document that establishes the vision, mission, goals, objectives, guidelines and the modus operandi for the mobilization , participation and promotion of productivity culture and practices among the citizenry”.

Implementation- Labour minister, Chief Emeka Wogu said “ the responsibility of monitoring and evaluation of this policy rests on the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the National Productivity Centre as well as State Governments “.

Soliciting the support of others, he said, “ I enjoin all stakeholders to be committed in this partnership aimed at successful implementation of all the provisions of this document:,

The minister made an appeal “ I wish to use this forum to request the state and  local governments to quickly inaugurate  their productivity councils  and committees as enunciated in the policy”.  He assured “ the ministry will no doubt offer relevant technical assistance  where necessary in ensuring the immediate take-off of these implementing organs at the other levels of governance”.

An optimistic Wogu concluded, “it is my fervent hope and prayer that with the successful implementation of the National Policy on Productivity at all levels; there shall be a  development of a sustained  productivity culture in Nigeria and indeed, an accelerated growth and enhancement of the national economy and ultimately improved standard of living”.