On Tuesday, February 21, the federal government bestowed on 15 outstanding individuals and five organisations the prestigious National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) awards.
The individual awardees are the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Alhaji Aminu Aliyu Bisalla; Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi; Vice Chancellor of Kogi State University, Professor Mohammed Sani Abdulkadir; President of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Kashim Abdul Ali; Professor Okechuckwu Obiorah Mbonu of the College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital; Professor Ukandi G. Damachi, Mrs. Mary Adenike Ibikunle, Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim Aliyu, Mr. Olubola Olakunle Aikulola, Mr. Idi Mohammed Maleh, Mrs. Elizabeth Igelegba, Mrs. Saratu Azi, Dr. Yemi Kale, Comrade Mike Akpotosewe and Mr. Emeka Okwuosa while the organisational recipients are Fidson Health Care Plc Lagos, Olam Nigeria Ltd, Friesland Campina Wamco Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Bottling Company Ltd and Chicason Group.
The essence of the award, which is being coordinated by the National Productivity Centre (NPC), is to recognize private individuals and organization who go the extra mile in ensuring that they carry out their activities and duties without expecting any material or financial incentive, but in order to satisfy their customers, employers and the general public’s taste.
Speaking at the investiture of the awards at the NICON Luxury Hotel in Abuja, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo who represented President Muhammadu Buhari as Special Guest of Honour, commended the awardees for their outstanding contributions to the development of the country and its peoples.
Osinbajo also spoke on the economic growth of the country, saying that the private sector is key to stimulating economic growth, hence the need for the private sector to collaborate with the federal government to tackle poverty and create employment opportunities to stimulate the activities of the productive sectors.
He said addressing unemployment would continue to be a mirage in the country if private sector players do not collaborate with the government, stressing that “an army of talented and skilled youths abound for private organisations, business enterprise and entrepreneurs to harness their abilities for their own profit-maximisation.”
Osinbajo said the federal government was committed to job creation and poverty eradication that is why it has initiated various social intervention programmes and made giant strides in diversifying the nation’s economy. He said the federal government has also created favourable investment climate aimed at revamping and stimulating economic activities in the public and private sectors.
In his remarks, Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Chris Ngige, said the recipients were honoured by the federal government because they have distinguished themselves through hard work, dedication and high productivity in their various fields of endeavours. The minister commended the awardees for their selfless service to the country, and urged them to continue to work hard for greater productivity. He also commended members of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award Committee for a job well done, stressing that more emphasis should be placed on creativity, innovation, high performance, efficiency, discipline and patriotism in the choice of recipients.
He also called on all Nigerians to strive towards improved productivity in tandem with the change agenda of the present administration which is aimed at sustainable growth and development of the nation.
“I wish to appeal to all Nigerians to reflect deeply on the significance of this celebration especially in the face of Mr. President’s Change Agenda and our vision of bringing the economy out of recession to a path of steady growth and prosperity. We should constantly strive to improve our productivity in all facets of our daily lives towards ensuring sustainable growth and development of our dear nation,” he said.
He said the present administration is conscious of the critical role improved productivity can play in the realisation of the Change Agenda, as no nation can be self-reliant and competitive in the international market without productivity improvement in all sectors of its economy.
He said government would reflect on ways of energising all the sectors of the economy towards institutionalising productivity consciousness and excellence in service.
“Successive governments in Nigeria have identified the critical role of productivity in the economy. However, what was lacking was walking the talk on the issues of productivity improvement.
“This government will, therefore, ensure that all obstacles to productivity promotion are tackled headlong. In this light, the National Productivity Centre will be supported to actualise its mandate,” he said.
The minister said employment generation remains one of the cardinal programmes of the present administration as part of efforts to resuscitate the economy and eliminate corruption.
“You will all agree with me that this can only be realised by encouraging creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. We are here today to celebrate and reward excellence in service by recognising individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the nation,” he said.
Also speaking, Acting Chairman of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award, Barrister Ikechi Uko, said the individual awardees were selected based on a 16-point performance criteria which include job performance, expertise, dedication, creativity, initiative, responsibility, leadership and quality while the corporate organizations were assessed based on an eight-point criteria which include local sourcing of raw materials, employment generation, staff training, profitability, capacity utilisation and corporate social responsibility, among others.
In a lecture titled “Productivity for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Employment,” Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi stressed the need for institutionalisation of meritocracy, selfless and productive service in the public and private sectors of the nation’s economy.
The minister said it is unacceptable that the country was importing things like toothpick and other items that can be locally produced, adding that countries that were at par with Nigeria in the 70s and 80s are now economic giants due to the emphasis they laid to youth entrepreneurship, private sector participation and economic diversification.
In his vote of thanks, the Director General of National Productivity Centre, Dr. Kashim Akor commended the recepients for their exemplary service and commitment to the development of the country and its peoples which made it possible for the government to confer the awards on them.
Responding on behalf of the awardees, TVice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi expressed gratitude for the recognition, saying that the awards would go a long way to inspire and boost their morale.
Origin and Significance of NPOM Award
On February 21, 1990 at the launching of Operation Excellence in Service (OPEX) in Lagos, the Federal Government declared that the 21st of February of every year shall be observed in Nigeria as a National Productivity Day (NPD). Following this declaration, the first NPD was successfully observed on the 21st February 1991, at National, State and Local Government levels throughout the country.
The National Productivity Day has the following objectives:
- To institutionalize productivity consciousness and excellence in service among workers and organizations in both the Public and Private Sectors in Nigeria, emphasizing on hard work, high performance, efficiency, discipline, dedication, humility and patriotism;
- To accord workers and organisations proper and due recognition for hard work, high productivity and research achievements;
iii. To identify and reward productive workers and organisations in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
A major component of the NPD is the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award. The machinery was set in motion for the conferment of the first National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award on the 10th September 1991 when the then Honourable Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity inaugurate a 12-member high powered committee with the mandate to:
- Select qualified organisations and individuals who have scaled through the stated criteria for the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award;
- Comply with the prescribed National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award criteria for both organisational and individual National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award without succumbing to any extraneous influence or subjective consideration;
- Protect the dignity and integrity of the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award.
The present committee, whose membership cuts across diverse economic sectors, comprises highly distinguished Nigerians of proven integrity drawn from both the public and private sector organisations. The organisations include: the Presidency, Federal Civil Service Commission, Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturer’s Association of Nigeria (MAN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, some distinguished Nigerians in their own right, Director-General of National Productivity Centre (NPC) and Secretary who executes the day to day functions of the committee.
In instituting the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award, government is fully aware of the social, political and economical implications of productivity. without visible level of productivity in any nation, employment generation opportunity cannot be guaranteed.
Essentially, productivity is the most important determinant of real economic growth, social progress and improved standard of living. In fact, changes in productivity are recognised as influencing many social and economic issues, such as rapid economic growth, higher standard of living , improvement in a nation’s balance of payment and inflation control. These changes are functions of wage level, cost/price relationship, capital investment needs and employment.
Consequently, the need to consolidate the achievements recorded by the various economic sectors makes the quest for higher productivity more urgent than ever before. Undoubtedly, higher productivity will help to alleviate any country’s economic problems of inflation, adverse balance of trade, poor growth rate and unemployment. It also stimulates price stability, higher standard of living and capacity utilization. At both the individual and corporate levels, the National Productivity Order of Merit Award is a thoughtful incentive scheme designed to positively affect productivity.
At the individual level, negative and deviant behaviours like truancy, carelessness, tardiness, improper use of time, indolence, inefficiency, insubordination, dishonesty, bribery and corruption cannot give rise to productivity nor yield a buoyant economy. Rather, great nations are built through the sweat of their citizenry who are committed to noble attributes such as expertise, job performance, dedication, hard work, initiative, creativity, honesty, reliability, self discipline, moral leadership, responsibility, punctuality, teamwork, contribution to the building of communities and organisations, and good human relations.
At the cooperate level, the National Productivity Order of Merit Award seeks to acknowledge organisations that are self-reliant in their adaptation and application of technology in order to guarantee for themselves cost effective operation and productive efficiency. Also, the award recognises companies which show a trend for sustained increases over the years in such vital areas as local sourcing of raw materials, capacity utilization, sales turnover, profitability, employee welfare schemes and training facilities. An economy that generates good employment opportunities and respectable quality of life for its citizens is what productivity is all about. Service organisations are also judge on their ability to render cost effective services which do not inflict pain on their consumers.
Since inception, 303 individuals and 74 organisations have been honoured with the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award. As more companies and individuals come to be recognised and rewarded for higher productivity through the National Productivity Order of Merit Award, the foundation for productivity consciousness and improvement would have been laid in Nigeria.