BY BODE GBADEBO, GEORGE OKOJIE |
Nigerian workers will soon get better packages to reduce hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured, adding that his administration had put in place some socio-economic policies to reduce poverty in the country.
Buhari, who was represented by the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, at this year’s May Day celebration at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Saturday, said the federal government had expanded the Conditional Cash Transfer for the vulnerable poor from 2.6 million households to 7.6 million.
He noted that the COVID-19 Rapid Response Register had been expanded for the urban poor to 4.8 million households, including the urban poor and working class citizens.
Speaking on this year’s celebration which had the theme: “COVID-19 pandemic, social and economic crisis: challenges for decent jobs, social protection and people’s welfare”, Buhari said the government, through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, had created the entrepreneur support programme which include vulnerable workers among the urban poor.
The president said his administration also established the Artisan Support Fund, Payroll Support Fund for small scale businesses, business formalisation aimed at encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises by offering free registration for upcoming businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Buhari also said his administration intends to expand the N-Power programme from the present 500, 000 to 1 million persons and the Central Bank of Nigeria has activated its programme in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
In a related development, Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, says his administration is fully committed to clearing outstanding deductions from workers’ salaries on a quarterly basis.
The governor equally restated his commitment to ensure that a minimum of N500m is set aside to clear backlogs of gratuities among the various cadres of pensioners under the state government and local government services.
Abiodun, who stated this in an address at the Workers’ Day celebration held at the M.K.O International Stadium, Abeokuta, on Saturday, assured workers in the state that his government would continue to provide conducive environment to enhance their productivity by renovating their various offices.
While noting that Workers’ Day had since grown to become a day exclusively reserved to celebrate and honour all workers across the globe, he saluted workers in the state, particularly the front line workers for the selfless discharge of their duties during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said he had approved 10 hectares of land in Idera, Ibeju Lekki, and Badagry for workers housing schemes.
Sanwo-Olu handed over the title documents to chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at an elaborate event organised to commemorate Workers’ Day.
The event was held at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos. The two housing schemes will be built by the labour unions with funds from the Federal Mortgage Bank. The Ministry of Housing will supervise the project.
The labour unions will now have a befitting secretariat to aid their operations, the governor said.
The secretariat, Sanwo-Olu promised, will be ready before next year’s May Day.
In Sokoto, Governor Aminu Tambuwal appealed for more support from civil servants to improve the existing industrial harmony in the state.
Tambuwal made the request in his address at the 2021 Workers Day celebration in Sokoto.
He said the appeal was in consideration of the state government priority to the activities of the labour unions.
“As we are all aware, the progress of every state and nation is to a large extent dependent on skilled manpower that can channel available resource towards productive activities.
“It is with this consideration that our administration had given high priority to the activities of the Labour Unions.
“The union’s role is indeed, important to the development and welfare of the workforce.”
The governor represented by his deputy, Alhaji Munir Dan’iya, said his administration would continue to maintain cordial working relationship with labour unions in the state.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, saluted Nigerian workers and felicitated with them as they joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Workers Day on Saturday.
A statement issued by his media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, said Lawan recalled the historic contributions of the workers in the struggle for the independence of Nigeria and emancipation of workers and the masses.
He also noted that the significance of May 1, which has been set aside every year to celebrate workers as the creators of wealth and to reflect on how to improve their work environment and welfare.
“I felicitate with the Nigerian workers on this occasion of the Worker’s Day of International Solidarity and Unity.
“The Nigerian Labour Movement has a proud heritage beginning from the heroic contributions of its founding fathers like Pa Micheal Imodu and his contemporaries in the struggle for the independence of Nigeria and emancipation of workers and the masses,” he said.