Onyejeocha Blames Nigeria ‘s Economic Downturn on Low Productivity Index

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

As Nigeria grapples with the challenge of repositioning her economy, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has attributed the inability to achieve developmental targets to low productivity index.

Onyejeocha, who stated this at the 5th National Productivity Summit held in Abuja, yesterday, said studies conducted by the National Productivity Centre showed that Nigeria’s commitment to productivity improvement over the years had been on the low side.

She said: “Despite the various economic plans and efforts, economic growth and development appear to be moving at snail speed. This is as a result of the nation’s low productivity index in all the sectors of the economy.

“As such, developmental goals were hardly achieved, while poverty remained high even in the face of potential for rapid and sustained economic growth (NPC, 2019).

“The country has performed poorly in terms of productivity, as, at best, it has recorded occasional marginal improvements in its productivity profile, resulting in high incidence of poverty – about 35 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty.”

While welcoming participants at the Summit, the Director General of NPC, Dr. Nasir Raji-Mustapha, said this year’s Productivity Summit was aimed at achieving higher productivity and national development by leveraging on science, technology and innovation.

He said over 30 years of study of the total factor productivity of the Nigerian economy showed very high technical inefficiency, “and we felt that focusing on this at the summit will complement the efforts of President Bola Tinubu’s promotion of the digital economy.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, urged the National Productivity Center to up its performance, adding that a lot still needed to be done to improve on the productivity of the nation’s workforce.

The Minister, who highlighted the importance of technology in boosting productivity, explained how his ministry was able to clear 204,000 international passports backlogs, using automated processes, when he came on board in 2023.

According to him, “We cannot be productive if we are not efficient in life. And I think as a nation and as a country, we must be concerned about the super-productivity of the business environment.”

The Chairperson of the Planning Committee of the Summit, Mrs. Titilola Oshati, said the objectives of the conference was to raise awareness on the importance of science, technology and innovation in enhancing productivity and achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.

She also said part of the objectives was to explore areas of collaboration and partnerships between government, private sector, members of academia and the civil society towards improving productivity in the country.

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