The federal government yesterday assured global leaders attending this year’s International Labour Conference (ILC) holding in Geneva, Switzerland that it is taking necessary steps to move more workers out of poverty.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo who led the federal government’s delegation to the ILO said this is in line with the ILO’s “Future of Work” initiative.
He said it is heartwarming that the ILO through the “Future of Work” initiative is taking the bull by the horn in anticipating future challenges in the world of work and taking a holistic approach in dealing with opportunities as they may arise.
According to him, Nigeria is one of the countries that have convened a National Dialogue on the Future of Work and is implementing many of the initiatives as well as the recommendations of the National Dialogue.
He said, “We agree with the ILO that labour, being the most critical factor of production should be the fulcrum of economic and social policies if we are 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.
“Presently, there is concerted effort to create an efficient, productive, incorruptible and citizen-centred work force anchored on four pillars; namely, professionalism, enterprise content management system, entrepreneurship culture and enhanced welfare package for employees.
“One other area of interest identified by the ILO in charting the future of work is the need to establish a Universal Labour Guarantee, which advocates, inter alia; ‘adequate living wage’ and minimizing the incidence of the working poor.
The Nigerian government under the leadership of His Excellency, 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 sixty-six per cent, and 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 that one other aspect of the Future of Work Initiative that is close to the heart of the Nigerian government is the provision of social protection schemes including social insurance schemes for workers and the vulnerable segment of the society.
According to the permanent secretary, 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.
He said, “It involves Home Grown School Feeding Programme for over nine million pupils, Conditional Cash Transfer to almost 300,000 Nigerians and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which financially empowers small and medium scale businesses.
” These programmes amongst others are geared toward overcoming the daunting unemployment challenges and eradication of poverty.”
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