By Chika Okeke, Abuja
The minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has called on employers of labour in the built environment to invest in their workers through quality manpower.
He made the call in Abuja at the 11th Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) organised by Fesadeb Media Group Limited with the theme: ‘Solving Nigeria’s Housing Challenge through Innovative Finance and Infrastructure Solution.”
Ngige commended AIHS for providing a platform for stakeholders to brainstorm on policy issues stressing that federal government was working towards increasing the minimum wage of workers to enhance their welfare and boost productivity.
“When this increment is actualised, the average Nigerian worker will still not be able to afford decent housing by private developers,” he said.
He said given federal government’s strong commitment to housing that President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration inaugurated the Federal Integrated Staff Housing scheme known as FISH in August 2016.
“Indeed the government cannot do it alone in providing decent housing for all Nigerian workers without the active involvement of the private sector,” he added.
The minister lamented that the cost of houses offered by private developers was far beyond the reach of the average Nigerian worker adding that government cannot detach housing from comprehensive welfare package for workers.
“The government is mindful of the challenges confronting the building and construction sector and is therefore not leaving any stone unturned to ensure a conducive business environment in line with its economic growth recovery plan,” he assured.
Ngige noted that government recognised the strategic importance of the sector in creating jobs for the teeming youths, artisans and professionals adding that they would continue to support the sector to grow.
While confirming that the ministry has been inundated with report of unfair labour practices in the sector, he warned the affected companies and organisations to avoid the hammer of the federal government, unnecessary agitations and ligation by workers and do the right thing.
He emphasised that the quest for home ownership and to live a comfortable life after retirement has unjustifiably driven some workers into corrupt practices stressing that one of the cardinal pillars of the government was to bring corruption to a standstill.