Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has called for increased productivity to counteract the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and also the challenges of underdevelopment in the country continues to face.
The Minister made this call in Abuja while flagging off the “Nigeria Public Sector Productivity and Innovation Summit”, organised by the National Productivity Centre, at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre.
Ngige, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Yerima Tarfa, stressed that the nation has to increase its level of productivity if it must recover from the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: ‘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.’
He went on to say 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.’
The Minister further 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.
He 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 N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility for households and SME adversely affected by the effects of COVID-19; the N100 billion Health Sector COVID 19 Intervention Fund; N260 billion 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.’