The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said on Wednesday that the country was not lagging behind in submitting its report on Labour standards to International Labour Organisation (ILO).
While reacting to a report credited to a team of experts from the ILO that the country was not up to date in its reports on Labour Standards, the Minister said the government constantly submits its report to the world Labour body as required.
Newsmen had quoted visiting officials of the International Labour Organisation, as saying that the country was lagging behind in reporting Labour Standards to the world body.
He however told newsmen on phone that the nation was only having difficulty in handling certain technical reports and sought the assistance of the ILO in handling those technical issues.
“We invited the ILO to help with with technical support because there are some areas where we are having problems. We invited the team you saw and they came to train our people on how to handle those technical areas.
“The training was attended by our people (government officials), Labour and employers. We now know how to handle the reports which will be submitted to the ILO latest 1st of September this year. So, it will be wrong to say that we are lagging behind in reporting on Labour Standard in the country”
On the inability of the government to set up the Nigeria Labour Advisory Council, the Minister said that lack of resources was delaying the composition of the council, adding that inspite of that, he has constantly held regular meetings with all those who are supposed to be represented on the council on how to move the Labour sector forward.
Meanwhile, the Minister has reinstated the commitment of the federal government to job creation for the citizenry and called on the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to expand its skills acquisition programmes in order to reduce the nation’s unemployment index.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Board of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the Minister said the NDE is a multipurpose vehicle whose mandate is anchored on creating varying programmes to ginger creativity, skills acquisition and self-reliance.
“The whole essence is to create a sustainable mechanism for job creation through skills development paradigm capable of producing a self-dependent generation of Nigerians who will not only empower themselves but also transfer the skills and replicate jobs,” the Minister said.
He regretted that this noble ideal was being hampered by paucity of funds, saying “NDE as of today is not well funded. If it were to be rich, its mandate centering around training and equipping of trainees, empowering them with loans to set up their own businesses such as carpentry, tailoring, metal fabrication and welding, computer- based technology, mechatronics among others would be easy. But that’s not to say the NDE is not doing its best within the limit of available resources.”
He however added, it was impossible for government alone to be charged with job creation as the private sector either alone or in liaison with the government has a huge role to play, saying that the public sector which the government controls is not expected to give more than 20% of jobs in a well-structured economy.
Ngige further said that part of the mandate of the NDE included the comprehensive national data on unemployment and therefore enjoined it to work in alliance with the National Identity Card Commission, who is currently creating a Single Data Base for the entire country.