By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Federal Government has disclosed that it plans to employ additional 350,000 unemployed graduates under its N-Power Volunteer Corps of the Social Investment Programmes (SIP).
In view of this, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has requested from the National Assembly an appropriation of N157.75B in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.
This comes as different sections of the executive arm of the FG are now defending the 2017 budget proposals before the legislature.
The N-Power is just one of the many SIPs that has so far drawn the interest and praise of Nigerians across board.
Out of the N-Power 2017 N157B 2017 budget “350,000 unemployed graduates more would be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Acting President, Mr Laolu Akande, disclosed.
The statement said under the N157.75 billion, a sum of N4.5 billion has been earmarked for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM program to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he assured, adding that some of the teething problems are giving way to lessons that would smoothen implementation under the 2017 budget.
Equally, under the 2017 budget proposals now before the National Assembly, Mr Akande disclosed that about N75 billion has been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, which will provide one hot meal a day to 5 million primary school pupils. He explained again, that this would certainly be an improvement on how far the feeding programme has been implemented so far under the 2016 budget which has so far attained the feeding of about one million pupils.
The spokesperson to the Acting President also stated that under the 2017 budget a sum of N112.2 billion has been allocated for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to up to 1.2million market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.
He said further that under the GEEP, beneficiaries will receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time 5 percent administrative fee.
Already under the 2016 budget, over 20,000 Nigerians in about 14 states and counting, have been benefiting from GEEP.
Similarly, the Conditional Cash Transfer which has kicked off in 9 states would be further expanded under the 2016 budget and will reach more states and much more Nigerians.
The plan in 2016 budget targets one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget an additional N54.98B has been allocated for the continuation of the N5000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.
Mr Akande further clarified that while President Muhammadu Buhari has further approved another N500 billion this year for all the social intervention programmes, N100 billion out of it has been allocated for the Family Homes Fund as already announced by the Ministry of Finance.
Nigeria Ratifies ILO Convention on Violence, Harassment in Workplace
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Instrument of Ratification for ILO Convention No.190 on Violence and Harassment.
Convention No. 190 is the first international labour standard to address violence and harassment in workplace. Together with Recommendation No. 206, it provides a common framework for action and a unique opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect.
These instruments will be key to achieving the objectives set by the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work, adopted in 2019, which clearly commits to a world of work free from violence and harassment.
Following his assent, the document is set to be deposited with the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ms Kachollom Daju, confirmed this at the opening ceremony of a 2-day Regional Sensitization Workshop on ILO Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment and Eliminating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the Workplace for Professional Officers in the three Northern Geo-Political Zones.
Ms Daju noted that Nigeria is the fourth country in Africa and the eighth in the world to ratify the convention, adding that the ministry has already inserted prohibitions on violence and harassment, including sexual harassment, in the just concluded review exercise of the National Labour Bills.
She stated that the ratification comes with an enormous responsibility and reporting obligation for Nigeria. She called on labour officers in the states to put their best foot forward as they must implement, intercept and intervene in all cases of violence and harassment and other related unfair labour practices in all workplaces after the convention is domesticated.
“The Ministry’s Headquarters will also depend on you to generate and gather data that will be used to develop a comprehensive First Report of Nigeria’s implementation of the Convention to the ILO when the time comes,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary appreciated the ILO Regional Office in Abuja, and the International Labour Office, Geneva, for providing the technical support for the workshop and for its support in ensuring that Nigeria’s Labour Administration System operates in line with international best practices.
On her part, the Director, Productivity Measurement and Labour Standards, Mrs Juliana A. Adebambo, said that to facilitate wide spread and acceptance of the Convention, the Ministry, with technical support from the ILO, had convened a series of preliminary activities across the six Geo-Political zones in the country and the 2-day workshop was first in the lineup.
The opening Ceremony had in attendance very important dignitaries, including the Country Director of the ILO office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mrs Vanessa Lerato Phala.
The convention affirms that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. It also provides for the first internationally agreed definition of violence and harassment in the world of work.
Reps Seek to Penalise Employers for Late Payment of Salaries, Pensions
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A bill to prohibit late payment of salaries, pensions and other emoluments of workers has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill is titled A Bill for an Act to prohibit late payment of Workers’ Wages, Pension and Other Emolument in Nigeria and Prescribes penalties for Violation; and Related Matters. It was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and scaled the second reading during plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.
Upon securing the second reading, the piece of legislation was referred straight to the Committee of the Whole for consideration, as no member opposed it.
Mr Gbajabiamila said there are varying penalties for offenders, including a term of imprisonment of up to one month.
For instance, an employer, who delays payment of salaries for a duration of one to seven days, will be liable to pay 10 per cent of one month’s pay to the employee; for eight to 30 days (20 per cent of the month’s pay); 30 to 60 days (30 per cent of one month’s pay); and 60 days/above (30 per cent of one month’s pay) plus improvement for one month.
The lawmaker disclosed that the bill wants to ensure the timely remuneration of employees, whether in the public or private sector. It also aims to prohibit the withholding of payment due to employees by employers in the guise of using the same to cover the cost of employee negligence.
In addition, it wants transparency of contracts between employers and employees and prescribes penalties against employers for violations of the provisions of this bill.
Furthermore, the bill, when passed into law, will provide compensation for employees and improve the general welfare conditions of employment for labour in Nigeria.
The Prospects for Tech Career in the Future
By Otori Emmanuel
Technology’s capacity to foster growth and development is more apparent than ever. In that, the influence of technology cannot be overstated, from streamlining routine tasks to creating ground-breaking solutions. Technology has been extensively adopted throughout generations, and there is still an expectancy for it to meet future needs.
A growing demand for qualified technologists exists due to how prevalent technology has become. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2021 to 2031, it is anticipated that overall employment in computer and information technology occupations would increase by 15%, substantially faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is anticipated to result in the creation of around 682,800 new jobs during the decade.
Many are putting in a lot of effort to maintain their position in the future and avoid becoming obsolete. This involves continuing personal training through online learning resources, giving back to the community, participating in tech forums, and attending conferences that expose one to the various facets of the tech industry.
Gap in the Industry
However, there is now competition across industries for these abilities as a result of the demand for tech skills. To keep the sector prospering, the technology skill gap caused by this competition needs to be closed. With the development of new technologies, workers’ contributions have been affected by the move toward machine learning, robotic engineering, artificial intelligence, cloud services, and decentralized operations.
The difference between what people can do and what employers expect them to be able to do is known as the skills gap. If an employee just knows how to program, yet a technology job role requires knowledge of both internet networking and a programming language, there is a skills gap. Due to this gap, businesses find it challenging to fill open positions. The employee can get better at this by developing the talent they lack.
Therefore, in order to supply services effectively, these new concepts must be acquired and mastered. Many tech professionals have been compelled to learn new ideas, hone their already-existing talents, and take on more difficult tasks to advance their careers because not all of them are knowledgeable in these new tech disciplines.
Tech industry benefits to Individuals
Due to the numerous benefits offered to employees, such as competitive pay, flexible work schedules, health insurance, skill development, paid parental leave, and job security, the tech industry is still enticing. Hence, many people have transitioned into IT from non-technical backgrounds.
Nowadays, many people do online training and obtain certifications to equip them with the knowledge they need to thrive in their employment. This is being done now to protect the future, even though it was rarely done in the past. Others have pursued their interests while working for tech companies without necessarily being “in IT”. The ease of entrance into the tech industry offers insight into how the industry is changing. Many IT experts are willing to work remotely from their homes.
Skills for the Future
Currently, hard skills and Soft skills are two basic skills essential to delivering maximum performance in the tech industry. Hard skills are frequently knowledge-based talents that are exclusive to particular professions, whereas soft skills are frequent and value-based skills that are not connected to particular employment.
Hard skills include, among others:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine Learning (ML)
- Data science
- Data analytics
- Data visualisation
- User Interface/Experience (UI/UX)
- Software engineering
- Cloud computing
- Internet of things (IoT)
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Technical research and writing
Several Soft skills include;
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Team player skills
- Mentorship skills
- Work Ethic
- Networking skills etc.
Future skills are those abilities that empower people to solve tough problems when situations evolve yet in an organised manner. It comprises hard skills, soft skills, transferable skills and other innovative skills. These abilities are essential for the coordination of formal activities. Some are innate that need to be cultured, while others can be formed through a learning process. They include; Creativity, Decision making and good judgment, Digital literacy and Computational thinking, Cognitive thinking, Collaboration, Management, Cultural intelligence, Financial Intelligence, Emotional intelligence, Automation etc.
In addition to one’s primary training, these abilities are necessary for working in multi-functional teams. Not every skill must be mastered to succeed.
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