Nigerian businesses to employ more people with disabilities

Ben Llewellyn-Jones is the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos.
Ben Llewellyn-Jones is the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos and was at the virtual event

Corporate giants Unilever, Diageo and Airtel have joined a new private-sector network that champions disability inclusion in the workplace.

The Nigeria Business Disability Network [MF1] (NBDN) was launched at an online event [MF2] on Tuesday 8th December that include a host of high-profile private companies, international development organisations and government members from across Nigeria.

It will enable employers to tap into the pool of diverse skills that people with disabilities can offer the workplace and their supply chain.

As much as 3 to 7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost within middle and low-income-countries as people with disabilities are excluded from the job market, according to International Labour Organisation, ILO estimates.

“We know that employers in Nigeria and beyond want to hire people with disabilities, many are unsure where to start or how to make their company truly inclusive” says Dr Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director Sightsavers Nigeria and Ghana.

“Employing people with disabilities has clear benefits not only for the people employed, but also for businesses. One estimate suggests that there’s a spending power of $8 trillion waiting for businesses who recognise this, and it starts with hiring inclusively.”Ms Busola Alofe, CEO Chartered Institute of Personnel Management adds.

The Nigeria Business Disability Network, an off shoot of the ILO Global Business Disability Network, is an employer – led platform which aims to foster disability inclusion practices and policies in the workplace, build disability confidence of employers and build job readiness of people with disabilities.

The British Deputy High Commission in Nigeria and country director of the International Labour Organization (ILO)  attended its launch alongside some of Nigeria’s biggest companies, including Access Bank, Mobil and Dangote who are all joining as network members.

With the support of the UK AID initiative – Inclusive Futures, Sightsavers Nigeria is partnering with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) which serves as the coordinating body for the network in Nigeria. CIPM is the Nigeria’s apex HR body with over 12,000 members.

Through webinars, resources, working groups and peer learning, members will benefit from expert advice and tailored support from disability rights groups to become a disability confident work environment.

One of these resources is a practical ‘disability toolkit’ which is already available to all as an open-source for business leaders, HR managers and property developers. The toolkit gives guidance on how to hire and develop employees with disabilities as well as how to make supply chain inclusive.

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