Minister of Labour tasks NECA on accountability
Says agitations are symptoms of unemployment
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, has urged the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) to take stock of their achievements and work on their shortcomings as they celebrate their 60th anniversary.
Speaking at NECA’s 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM), Ngige said that although the association had done well in nurturing industrial relations, it still needed to do more work in other areas.
NECA, he noted, should have zonal offices in all the states of the federation so that people in the private sector are included in the net.
“In this age of informal economy where all of us have identified the informal economy, there are areas where we have people that are not captured in the net. Whether it is minimum wage we are talking about, the informal sector economy is not represented,” he said.
He added that as long as the private sector was present, there is a job to be done by the other social partners to bring them into the net but that job falls into NECA’s ambit.
Ngige pointed out that a greater number of small and medium scale people were needed in the association to put to rest misconception people might have about the NECA.
“I want to assure NECA and the federation of the unions that the moribund consultative assembly in my ministry would come alive before the end of the fourth quarter of this year. We couldn’t give it oxygen because of the budget issue, but it is included in this year’s budget,” he said.
On the rising unemployment in the country, he explained that social intervention programmes were important to take care of the unemployed, without which there may be social upheaval.
“That is why the federal government tried to create some social intervention programmes to accommodate the unemployed and people who have been ignored.
“The federal government is trying its own bit to achieve industrial harmony and social stability. All the Boko Haram, the avengers, the Oduduwa Peoples Congress (OPC) agitations are symptoms of unemployment,” he added.
He, therefore, appealed to NECA to assist the government in ensuring that there were no redundancies, saying government was aware of labour issues and was trying to fix them.
Also speaking, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said government was doing its best to restore the economy, insisting that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) would ensure that the future gets better.
“Government’s role is to create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest, create wealth and jobs so that the country can prosper.”
“Our aim is to change Nigeria from being a high-import dependence to one that makes the product it consumes. From a nation that relies on a single commodity to one that runs on multiple streams such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, solid minerals and services.”
President of NECA, Larry Ettah, however, pledged to be positive, constructive and continually offer advice, policy inputs and engage stakeholders and the government on ways to revive the economy and create jobs.
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