Former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has called on entrepreneurs and private companies in Nigeria to imbibe ethical values of integrity, transparency in the conduct of their businesses.
Ezekwesili gave the advice while delivering keynote address at the presentation of 2016 excellence award by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry limited (ACCI) on Wednesday night.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ACCI’s ‘Excellence Awards’ is a platform to celebrate businesses and corporate organisations that have contributed to economic development of Nigeria.
Dangote cement, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas,(NLNG) Airtel Nigeria were announced as winners of the 2016 excellence award on outstanding company, best cooperate social responsibility company and most innovative business idea company respectively.
Ezekwesili said that it was fundamental for companies who desired to be celebrated with excellence to ensure consistency of ethical values in the conduct of their business.
She identified commitment and diligence as traits of attaining excellence in business, adding that companies honoured must try to build a lasting legacy.
According to her, many business people have compromised the spirit of excellence in a bid to avoid cost.
She said the core value of integrity was a major determinant of an award of excellence to any company.
“Ethical values in your company is what will cause your companies to be celebrated by generations after generations.
“I will be glad to celebrate the awards that you receive and it is that consistency that I want to celebrate in you tonight.
“Values cannot be bought with money, so I challenge you, those of you who are being celebrated to abstain from poor governance which manifest as corruption; it is the greatest obstacle to the Nigeria development.”
She said that the greatest obstacle to development was lack of good governance, stressing that Nigerian needs to build itself into a nation of excellence.
She said that the private sector was key to economic growth and development as such efforts must be made to remove barriers inhibiting the performance of private businesses.
“What is important is that policy markers understand that there are barriers that stood in the ways for companies to excel.
“When those barriers are not properly identified and removed, companies have the tendency to operate below their possibilities,” she added.
According to her, achieving excellence in the private sector in Abuja will be possible if the FCT Administration reduces the cost of doing business.
She said that if the barriers to doing business were not taken away, the cost of operating business in Abuja would be much higher than in other states of the federation.
Ezekwesili urged the companies to imbibe the spirit of excellence in business to enable the outfits compete in the global environment.
Earlier, the President of ACCI, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye, said that it was important for organisations to be innovative in the way they do things even in the midst of challenges.
He said that the present economic climate in Nigeria and all over the world has never been more harsh, noting that only a focused, objective and determined government could surmount the challenges.
The president said it was the right time for the government to take the right decision to salvage the economy.
He said: “We must build that dream nation where our children would easily find jobs and inspire entrepreneurs.
“We need to make the culture of excellence the pivot on which our business rotates.”
Ejinkeonye said Nigerian companies can only compete in the global environment with the best technologies, products and the right values in business.
He said that the search for excellence would produce the best of corporate governance, product development and service delivery.
He added that the awardees were selected based on integrity and excellence.
He further said that the organisations selected were built on values of dedications, accountability, competence, ethics, and integrity.
NAN reports that medals and certificate were presented to the companies that won the awards during the event attended by captains of industry, members of diplomatic corps and technocrats.(NAN)