Nigerian Government restates commitment to workers welfare

Helen Shok Jok. Abuja

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The Nigerian Government says it is committed to ensuring the welfare of workers in every sector of the Nigerian economy.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the commitment in Abuja on Thursday, in a message to the 11th Triennial Delegates’ Conference of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria TUC.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr Boss Mustapha, the President cited his commitment to workers’ welfare with his recent signing into law of a new National Minimum Wage of 30,000 naira for workers in the country.

President Buhari assured the delegates that government was addressing every sector of the economy to make sure that workers get the best deal in the years of service to the nation.

“Dear Comrades, my administration believes in the welfare of workers and that is why we have signed the Minimum Wage Bill into Law and implementation is underway.

“l employ both the State Governments and the private sector to give their workers a decent living wage to encourage workers to contribute more to our economy.

“The Federal Government acknowledges the collaborative support it has received from the Labour Union, especially the TUC, since the inception of this administration.

“Members of this Union participated actively in developing the drafting of the various policy documents that have led to the development of roadmaps in the Country.

“Members of the Union are also involved in several aspects of the implementation of the road maps”, the President said.

President Buhari said it is the belief of Government that the synergy and collaboration between it and labour will be strengthened as the nation move forward.

“Let me use this opportunity to state that the Executive Arm of Government is committed to having a smooth and good working relationship with the Labour Unions in Nigeria as we go higher.

“This Conference is coming at a time that Nigeria needs every sector of the economy to contribute towards Nation building as we move to the next level and this does not exclude the Labour Unions.

“As I said in my Inaugural Speech read during the 2019 Democracy Day, we are mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty to prosperity”, he said.

Security Challenges
He assured Nigerians that the security challenges currently facing the nation was not insurmountable adding that the government is meeting these challenges with much greater support to the security forces in terms of funding, equipment and improved local intelligence.

“We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve. I can assure you that we will win the war against Terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and farmers-headers clashes”. 

The government he said has tried to build a solid foundation for the country in the last 4 years saying that the efforts have begun to yield results.

According to him, the Economy is making a steady progress, the GDP is expected to grow by 2.7 percent this year while the External Reserve have risen to $45 billion and“ can finance a number of our foreign commitments”.

“Our Government will continue to improve on our national development plans and initiatives. 

“We will concentrate on agriculture, education, power and other infrastructure, manufacturing and social intervention schemes.

“We will promote good governance and fight corruption to a standstill”, Buhari said.

Out going President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, said the theme of the 11th Delegates’ Conference, “Labour and Nation Building;The Place of Labour in National Politics”, was chosen to educate the new crop of politicians about the role the organised labour has played in the development of the nation.

He said it was unfortunate that Nigeria was still battling with issues like corruption, insecurity, inflation, unemployment and poverty, banditry as well as kidnapping among other and called for deliberate action by all concerned to arrest the situations.

Guest speaker and Vice Chancellor, Nassarawa State University, Professor Sulaiman Mohammed, challenged labour to take its rightful place in the political governance of the nation by floating an ideological political  party that can stand the test of time.

He also called on the organised labour to continue to fight what he called “policies that impoverish Nigerians.”

Chairman of the occasion, Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said that Labour must set up a committee to interface with the real sector of the economy so as to move the nation forward.

He commended the federal government for signing the new National Minimum Wage of 30,000 naira in to law but insisted that a lot more is needed to give workers a living wage.

For the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Permanent Secretary, Mr William Alo, want the incoming executives of the Congress to maintain the industrial harmony which he said the TUC is known for.

There were good will messages from the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, the International Labour Organisation ILO and other social partners of the Trade Union Congress.

By the end of Friday, the new executives to run the affairs of the TUC for the next three years will emerge.

Nnenna.O