Labour Organisation to support massive employment in Nigeria

Helen Shok Jok and Martha Obi, Abuja

The massive employment creation initiative of President Muhamadu Buhari  has received yet another boost following the commitment of the International Labour Organisation, ILO to the administration’s job creation efforts.

The Country Director of ILO, Mr. Dennis Zulu made the commitment during his courtesy visit to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

According to him, “ILO will like to partner Nigeria on the drafting of new employment policy. We as an organisation have attained an advanced stage in the drafting of this policy and we need the contribution of the tripartite partner as well as the Ministry to push it forward.”

Speaking further, Mr. Zulu stated that his organisation is looking forward to receiving the input of the Ministry towards the completion of the Social Protection Policy which is aimed at providing social protection floor for the vulnerable including retirees, thereby making sure that they did not fall back to poverty trap after retirement.

The ILO Country Director affirmed the need to review Nigeria’s Labour Laws to reflect the reality of the moment in the sector.

“We look forward under your leadership to see that the labour laws that have been in the National Assembly since 2005 are clarified to ensure that they reflect changing times and changing demands both in the private and public sectors,” he explained.

In his response, the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige reiterated the commitment of the Buhari lead administration to the provision of jobs for the teeming unemployed youths, while assuring the International Labour Organisation of his commitment to continued maintenance of industrial peace and harmony in the labour sector through proactive social dialogue.

The name of this ministry was changed to Ministry of Labour and Employment to reflect its pivotal role in the job creation efforts of the Nigerian Government. The activities of the Ministry are also accentuated by this responsibility and we are living up to the task. However the aspect that makes for industrial relations, social protection for the vulnerable and the entire workforce as enshrined in the ILO status and the nation’s constitution will not be abandoned,” the minister explained.

The Minister stated that the change mantra of the present administration seeks to impact positively on the lives of the people.

“We are going to make resources of state available to everybody especially those on the lower side of the social rung and not a selected few at the top. We have fashioned out some social intervention programmes such as the Graduate Teachers Conversion Scheme, Commercial Farmers Training Project, Conditional Cash Transfer, Skill Acquisition Programme to impact skills such as metal fabrication, plumbing, electric wiring, baking, interior decoration, repair of phones, painting, hairdressing, garment production among others. We hope that ILO will give us technical support to man the various skills acquisition and vocational centres,” he said.

Dr Ngige reminded the ILO Country Director of his earlier request in Addis Ababa that in view of the enormous contributions of Nigeria to the ILO and being the first country to host its office in Africa, opened in 1959, it should be accorded a prime place in the West African region through the upgrade of its regional office in Nigeria to a multi-disciplinary centre that can cater for its needs as the hub of West African countries.

Confidence O.