By Kenneth Jukpor
As Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) celebrated its biennial Long Service Awards for workers who had served for over twenty-five years, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige has assured that the federal government is concerned about workers’ welfare.
Dr. Ngige gave this assurance yesterday at the NPA 2017/18 Long Service & Merit Awards organized in Eko hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Minister of Labour expressed delight at NPA’s commitment to celebrate members of staff, noting that every occasion to honour workers was a thing of pride to him.
“I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to be here. As the one who superintends the interests of workers in Nigeria, I understand the importance of recognition and rewards to the average worker and celebrate organisations that appreciate their human capital. Such incentives indicate the limitless potentials of organisations. I am particularly grateful that the NPA has adopted and imbibed this strategy”, he said.
He also assured that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari understands the importance of the welfare of workers in the development of a nation, noting that the minimum wage had been signed while he also highlighted the aversion of disputes that would have thrown the universities and teaching hospitals into crisis.
He stressed that no nation can grow beyond the level of its human resources, adding that it was gratifying to see that the management of NPA aligned itself with President Mohammadu Buhari administration’s objective to prioritize workforce.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha said that the NPA recognition and rewards demonstrated the high premium it places on its human resource.
“Indeed, this award ceremony is very much in harmony with the imperatives of the Next Level Agenda which is to make Nigerians reap the rewards of our collective patrimony. I want to congratulate the employees being honoured today for the quality and quality of service that you have given to the NPA over the past few years. I am confident that you will continue to remember today as a copious indication of your country’s appreciation of your service” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, NPA Governing Board, Mr. Emmanel Olajide Adesoye expressed confidence that these gestures and the testimonies thereafter would send loud signals to inspire confidence in other members of staff and spur them to greater dedication and commitment.
“I congratulate everyone being honoured today. This event is only a token of the Authority’s appreciation of the various levels of contribution that you have made to the development of the Authority and the maritime sector in Nigeria. It is also a show of our commitment to continue to appreciate your contributions and reward your excellence” he said.
Speaking further he said, “My hope is that you will see all that you do as an investment in the development of the country as much as an investment in your own future because all the traditions that we are exposed to admonish us about the importance of sowing and reaping.”
Earlier in her welcome speech, the Managing Director, NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman noted that the Authority made the event elaborate to show its premium placed on the contributions of members of staff to the development of the Authority and all our ports.
“This is a very ambitious management. One which is determined not to leave the NPA where it met it. This management of the Nigerian Ports Authority is committed to not just changing the ways things are done momentarily but in bequeathing a tradition of transparent and excellent service that would make our ports the hub in the sub-region” she said
She assured that NPA management understood that the workforce is an integral part of whatever good stories and initiatives Authority would be able to achieve, hence the determination to periodically show appreciation for the dedication of staff.
“Tonight therefore, we are gathered here to honor our long – serving and dedicated employees of 25 years upwards and at the same time celebrate those who have demonstrated excellence by achieving uncommon feats in the course of duty” Hadiza said.
She noted that beyond these regular recognitions of serving and retiring staff members, the management had resolved to maintain a well-motivated workforce with the requisite character, competence, and capacity to optimize Nigeria’s maritime endowments.
The NPA boss assured that the Authority was also paying attention to the health and mental needs of the members staff.
“The goal is to be a competent and committed workforce our collective interests. Let me seize this opportunity to say that our drive towards attaining the Occupational Health and Safety Standards (OHSAS 18001) and ISO 9002 compliance status- the core of which is the enhancement of the workers’ well-being is in top gear” she added.