The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that the current unemployment rate in the country was unacceptable to the Buhari administration as no nation can develop by leaving out a vast percentage of its productive human capacity.
Deputy Director, Press in the Ministry, Samuel Olowokoore quoted the Minister as saying that the Buhari government was committed to job creation and the provision of decent employment opportunity for Nigerians within the productive age.
A statement from the Ministry said the Minister spoke at a validation workshop on the reviewed National Employment Policy (NEP), organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria.
He stressed that “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.”
Senator 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.
He advocated objective and assiduous cooperation of all stakeholder and the entire citizens to the development of the country towards surmounting the current challenges facing Nigeria.
According to the Minister, “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.”
The Director ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liason Office of ECOWAS, Dennis Zulu expressed confidence that the reviewed employment policy will enhance coherent, integrated and sustainable multi-sectorial response to combat the challenges of unemployment.
Zulu appealed to the federal government to ratify the ILO convention 122 saying that the reviewed national employment policy is already in line with the objectives of the conventions.
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.