By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, has reiterated the commitment of the present administration to job creation and provision of decent employment opportunities for Nigerians within the productive age.
He stressed that the current high unemployment rate is unacceptable, as no nation can develop by leaving out a vast percentage of its productive human capacity.
The Minister made these remarks while delivering a keynote address during the validation workshop of the reviewed National Employment Policy (NEP), organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO), other social partners include, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria.
In his words, “There is urgent need to engage a larger percentage of the productive age in decent, fairly remunerated and sustainable means of livelihood either as wage earners or self-employed, while preserving existing gainful employments.”
Speaking further, Mr Ngige disclosed that towards ensuring inclusive national employment policy, the revised NEP addresses concerns such as employment of the physically challenged, international labour migration, decent work components, and higher education for employability including green jobs amongst others.
Toward surmounting the current challenges facing Nigeria, he advocated objective and assiduous cooperation of all stakeholders and the entire citizens to the development of the country.
According to Mr Ngige, “The country is currently facing difficult times in the annals of its history requiring understanding and cooperation of employers, workers and other stakeholders. In proposing strategies to overcome the current challenges, stakeholders must objectively and conscientiously be willing to make necessary trade-offs in the overall interest of the society.”
In his goodwill message, the Director ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liason Office of ECOWAS, Mr Dennis Zulu, expressed confidence that the reviewed employment policy will enhance coherent, integrated and sustainable multi-sectorial response to combat the challenges of unemployment.
He appealed to the federal government of Nigeria to ratify the ILO convention 122 saying that the reviewed national employment policy is already in line with the objectives of the conventions.
In their various presentations, the representatives of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria appreciated the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment for spearheading the review of the national employment policy in line with international standards that promote decent work agenda with emphasis on respect for labour and human rights.
While speaking, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Clement Iloh, said that the reviewed National Employment Policy is an off-shoot of the first National Policy on Employment approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2002, with the objective of promoting job creation as a priority in national, economic and social policy, safeguard the basic rights and interest of workers, stimulate economic growth and development as well as eradicate poverty and improve the living standards of citizens.
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