Nigeria set to produce citizen-centred workforce

By Helen Shok Jok, Geneva

The 108th Centenary Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Nigeria is set to build an efficient, productive and incorruptible centred workforce.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr William Alo said this would be anchored on four pillars of  professionalism, enterprise content management system, entrepreneurship culture and enhanced welfare package for employees.

Mr Alo said this while addressing the plenary of the 108th Centenary Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to  the Permanent Secretary, “the other area of interest identified by the International Labour Organisation ILO in charting the future of work, is the need to establish a Universal Labour Guarantee, which advocates, adequate living wage with a view to  minimising the incidence of the working poor. ”

“The Nigerian Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has keyed into these ideals by signing into law, a new National Minimum Wage Act which increased the National Minimum Wage by 66 per cent. 

“This has consequential wage adjustment for all workers and translates into enhanced purchasing power of the Nigerian workers.  

“Furthermore, the number of workers covered by the new National Minimum Wage Act has substantially increased in line with the demand of the ILO over the years…This will ultimately pull many workers out of the vicious cycle of poverty thereby stimulating investment, economic growth and wealth creation,” he said.

Economic and social policies
Mr Alo stated that Nigeria agreed with the ILO that labour, being the most critical factor of production should be the fulcrum of economic and social policies if the world is to have a just, fair equitable and egalitarian society in the future.

“In view of this, the Government of Nigeria inaugurated and launched the 2017-2020 Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan for the purpose of improving and developing capacity in the public sector towards advancing the nation’s economy,”Mr Alo said.

The Permanent Secretary, however, said that one aspect of the Future of Work Initiative that the Nigerian government has provided was the social protection schemes, which include social insurance schemes for workers and the vulnerable segment of the society.

“It is worth noting that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the present administration’s social investment programme stands out clearly as the largest and most effective social investment programme in Africa.  

“It involves Home Grown School Feeding Programme for over nine million pupils, Conditional Cash Transfer to almost three hundred thousand Nigerians and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which financially empowers small and medium scale businesses…These programmes among others are geared toward overcoming the daunting unemployment challenges and eradication of poverty.

“We also strongly believe that the future of the ILO depends on how we continue to reaffirm and uphold the democratic principles and values of the organisation by removing discrimination and isolation thereby promoting inclusiveness and equity of representation of all regions in the governance structures of the organisation.  

“Therefore, as we prepare to adopt a new Centenary Declaration based on social justice and inclusiveness, Nigeria restates that the ILO should correct the international arrangement of reserving permanent seats for Countries of Chief Industrial Importance,” Mr Alo stressed.

He called on the ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder to revisit Nigeria’s request for the upgrading of the ILO Country Office in Abuja that covers  Ghana, Sierra-Leone, Liberia and the Gambia to the status of a Decent Work Sub-regional Office to serve the English speaking countries of West Africa.

“This is because it has become clear that the office in Senegal can no longer effectively serve the technical assistance requirements of the sub-region.  

“In the same vein, we renew our demand for the employment of more Nigerian professionals into the office in order to bridge the under-representation of Nigeria in the ILO workforce bearing in mind Nigeria’s status and contributions to the organisation,” he said.

The theme of the 2019 Conference is “Work for a Brighter Future.” 

The ILC, which is also known as the ‘World Parliament of Labour’, is an annual meeting of the ILO.

Nearly 6,000 delegates representing Governments, Workers and Employers from the ILO’s 187 Member States are attending the Conference scheduled to end on the 21st of June.

The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, is leading the Nigerian delegation to the Conference.


Mercy Chukwudiebere