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NBDN calls for greater integration of PWDs in the workplace

Nigeria Business and Disability Network (NBDN) and other stakeholders in the private, public and social sectors have been pushing for greater inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the workforce of organizations.

NBDN also said it will launch an app that will connect PWDs to find jobs that match their qualifications.

The call was made during the second edition of the Nigeria Diversity and Inclusion Conference, organized by Access Holdings and held in Lagos on Wednesday.

The conference serves as a platform for employers to increase disability confidence, promote inclusion practices, and promote employment readiness for people with disabilities in the workplace.

Under the theme ‘Disability Inclusion in Sustainable Business’, the event highlighted the economic value of disability inclusion and its significance in achieving sustainable business practices.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman, NBDN, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, said that over the years, there has been an increasing clamor for companies to integrate people with disabilities (PWDs) into roles that suit their qualifications.

According to the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Nigeria is estimated to have over 30 million PWDs who are marginalized based on gender, poverty, age or other factors.

She added that it has become imperative for PWDs to have equal access to opportunities across all sectors, saying that including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) disabilities not only enhances corporate value and shareholder returns good, but also reduces inequality in the workplace.

Noting that the proposed app will address employment issues among people with disabilities, Victor-Laniyan said the app is essentially intended to connect employers with qualified disabilities.

Senior Global Advisor, Save the Children International, Dr. Toyin Aderemi, said: “The unemployment rate among persons with disabilities is double that of persons without disabilities. This is even worse for women with disabilities.

“Apart from government, the private sector offers significant employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, who are mostly employed in the informal sector where they are poorly paid.

“When they work in the formal sector, they usually experience underemployment and unemployment.”

She added: “We believe that businesses have a major role to play in promoting employment for people with disabilities.

“Both international companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the main players in terms of employment.

“Companies are not only employers, but also participate in creating and spreading practices, thereby complementing public initiatives. These include diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and corporate social responsibility (CRS) policies.

Country Director of Sightsavers Nigeria, Dr. Joy Shuaibu, stating that diversity and inclusion bring good business, said every member of the Nigerian Business and Disability Network is actively building sustainability, increasing their economic profit margins and driving innovation through mainstreaming of diversity. .

Also speaking, Senior Program Officer of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Nigeria, Chinyere Emeka-Anuna, said that “the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace is critical as they are equal human beings with equal rights to economic empowerment and decent work .

“Employing people with disabilities is also increasingly beneficial for businesses, as research shows that organizations that promote disability inclusion outperform those that do not.

“By focusing on skills rather than stereotypes, companies can access a vast pool of untapped talent and maximize the potential of their workforce.

“These employees have diverse experiences, including different disabilities, which give them different approaches to problem solving and can increase the company’s ability to innovate.”

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