Minister seeks more funding for labour sector
• Decries expatriate quota abuse
THE Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has solicited the assistance of the National Assembly for adequate budgetary allocation in 2016 for effective and efficient service delivery of statutory mandate of the ministry.
Ngige made the request in Abuja at the presentation of the 2015 Budget performance of the Ministry before the Senate and House of Representatives committees on labour and employment at the National Assembly.
During the presentation, the Minister stated that low budgetary allocation had been a major impediment militating against the actualisation of the ministry’s statutory responsibilities particularly in the area of job creation and social protection.
He, therefore, urged the committees to assist and work with the ministry to enable it achieve its mandate of employment generation as it remains one of the front burners of the present administration.
Commenting on workers’ compensation scheme, the Minister frowned at employers who have perpetually reneged on paying their contributions to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), which is the custodian of the scheme, and urged the National Assembly to make stringent laws that will reprimand defaulters, who have not been remitting their contributions to the scheme.
Ngige also decried the influx of expatriate workers into the country, describing it as increasingly becoming worrisome adding that, the trend has adversely affected the Nigerian economy.
He called for proactive measures to checkmate the trend, noting that the expatriate quota abuse menace has deprived Nigerians opportunities to be gainfully employed.
The Minister declared that the abuse of expatriate quota has led to jobs losses amongst Nigerians, saying, “jobs for Nigerians should be reserved for Nigerians.”
He disclosed that his Ministry is liaising with the Ministry of Interior to have a second look at the expatriate quota allocation, adding that the National Assembly has important role to play by revisiting the policy on expatriate quota in order to reverse this negative trend which has taken its toll on job seekers in the country.
He reiterated the determination of the present administration at tackling the scourge of unemployment adding that the skills acquisition centres scattered all over the federation which some of them are either under-utilised or moribund will be revived to offer Nigerians skills and boost entrepreneurial spirit among young people.
He added: “Entrepreneurship is the way to go, we want to train our people and certificate them, and we want to do that aggressively.”
The Minister disclosed that the Ministry has successfully performed its statutory role through mediation, conciliation and arbitration in labour relations issues which has culminated into relative industrial peace and harmony being experienced in the National economy
In his remarks, the Minister of State, James Ocholi, appealed to the Committees on Labour and Employment to graciously contribute to the amelioration of the impediments militating against the attainment of the Ministry’s statutory responsibilities for actualization of the change mantra of the present administration particularly in the area of job creation and social protection. He stressed that the Ministry requires special attention in terms of proper and adequate funding.