The Federal Government has assured members of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) of its commitment to see that Nigerian businesses succeed in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Minister of Trade and Industry, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association 2020 Employers’ Excellence Award ceremony, said government would ensure that members of NECA would be major beneficiaries as Nigeria prepares for the AfCFTA.
Adebayo stated that the ministry considered NECA a strategic partner as it makes progress in its backward integration drive. Commending NECA for organising the award, he noted that it would motivate employers as well as have direct impact on their employees.
Dangote Fertiliser/Projects and Nestle Nigeria were among 25 companies that emerged winners at the maiden edition of NECA 2020 Employers’ Excellence Award ceremony.
Dangote Fertiliser/Projects won in the Chemical/Allied Products Award, while Nestle Nigeria won in the Food, Beverages and Drinks category.
ABC Transport and AMECO Industries won Road Transport Award and Automobile Award, respectively, at the event held in Lagos.
Other recipients included Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company, which was honoured for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labour in the country.
According to the organisers, the employers’ excellence award was established to celebrate organisations that have implemented policies, systems and processes that create and sustain enterprise, competitiveness, productivity, industrial peace and harmony.
In his opening remarks, president of NECA, Taiwo Adeniyi, said the award was to reward and celebrate the doggedness and resilience of organised business in Nigeria.
He said: “Nigerian enterprises are arguably the most dogged and resilient in the world despite the myriads of challenges besetting the operating environment.
“While some have buckled under the excruciating local and global operating pressure of unfavourable circumstances, and others relocated in the quest for survival, most organisations have continued to trudge along, amid the prevailing turbulence.
“In doing this, Nigerian enterprises have demonstrated social responsibility and fruitful partnership with government.
“This they did through the provision of employment opportunities for teeming youths and payment of taxes and levies to the government at all levels for developmental purpose.”
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, who commended the organisers and awardees for their contribution to national and people development, urged NECA to sustain the objective and standards of selection to enable the body drive the goal of instituting the excellence award. He said NECA has set the pace for local employers to adopt best practices in their operations such that they match their performance with reputable employers globally.
In the same vein, the director-general of NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale, said the award took into account the performances of the employers for the year 2020, hence, the 2020 Annual Excellence Award.
Olawale said the process leading to the selection of winners might not be perfect, but was credible and rigorous.
“There is no better time to celebrate than now, having surmounted to some extent, the challenges posed by COVID-19; while we are not yet in Eldorado, we are definitely not hopeless,” he said.
Among others, the organiser had earlier explained that the criteria for the awards was leadership and governance; innovation, productivity and corporate performance; effective human resource management and industrial relations; technology optimisation; occupational health and safety; inclusiveness and diversity as well as responsible business conduct/corporate social responsibility.