Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has charged the management of the Nigeria Social Investment Trust Fund (NSITF) to place as much premium on its own staff as the external workforce that it seeks to cater for, in order to sustain the organisation’s international credibility.
He gave the charge on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State at the Board and Management Retreat of the NSITF, the government agency charged with compensating workers who suffer workplace injuries, disabilities or death.
The Minister hoped that the retreat would be an opportunity to rejuvenate the team of Management and the Board and affirm the link between Board and staff members; towards accomplishing the mission and vision of NSITF while building the bonds of team spirit and team work.
According to Ngige: “The Management cadre is the pulse of the organisation and as such indicates the liveliness of an organisation at any point in time and affects the vitals of its remaining parts.
“In industrial relations parlance it is said that a management deserves the kind of workers it gets. So, on a practical note, ask yourselves during this retreat – ‘what kind of workers do I merit based on my attitude and approach to work?’ Working on that premise, I urge the management to be staff oriented and not place itself in an ivory tower.
“The Management should at all times be mindful of the principles of equity, fairness, and social justice in order to ensure decent work for the staff of the NSITF.”
The Minister further urged the Board and Management to use the retreat to “find ways and means of encouraging your staff to put in their best; utilise your human resources by mapping out areas of your mandate for your staff respective schedules, to give them decent and engaging works; survey the office environment both physically and mentally in order to create conducive environment for higher productivity and sustainability of the enterprise;
“Create credibility for the NSITF so that the Private and Public employers would have the confidence and trust to work with the NSITF to realise its mandate; and invest and move the NSITF higher to meet up with international benchmarks and defend its internationally acquired standard.”
In emphasising the need for harmony at the top of the workforce, Ngige concluded that “I hope at the end of this retreat, the Management Staff and Board members of the NSITF would have had the opportunity to participate in activities that involve teamwork.
“To see their peers as people they can rely on in the workplace and subsequently do a better job at working together.”
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented on the occasion by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, formally declared the retreat open and thanked NSITF for holding it in the State, even as he commended the organisation for discharging its statutory mandate.
Chairman of the Board of NSITF, Prince Austin Enajemo- Isire, in his speech highlighted the essence of social security scheme to the economic development of a nation, as it helps in poverty alleviation and economic empowerment.
He then compared the retreat to what the eagle does when it retires to far away mountains, saying it was necessary to shed old habits re-plan and enthrone new ways of doing things to enable the NSITF come out stronger.