AAEUN seeks inclusion of agric workers in compensation scheme
The Agricultural and Allied Employees’ Union of Nigeria (AAEUN) has called for the inclusion of all workers in the agricultural sector in the employees compensation scheme.
Speaking at the just-concluded International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, National President of the union, Anchaver Msughter, lauded the achievements of the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS) of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), saying the move would boost food security in the country.
His words: “The NSITF is doing well so far. Our position is that there are other areas of the agricultural sector that have been left out in the scheme. Our members who read livestock are already benefitting from the scheme but this should be expended to include the entire sector and not some segments.
“If the diversification of the economy from crude oil to agriculture is indeed a priority, then government must prioritise the motivation of the workers in the agriculture sector. We see the extension of the ECS as one way of motivating the workers to give their best in the diversification drive.”
Msughter disclosed that only livestock experts were presently benefitting from the scheme, while experts in agronomy, fisheries and others have been left out. He hinted that union would campaign vigorously for all agriculture workers, especially those in the rural areas who go from one community to another educating farmers on modern techniques of agriculture.
While x-raying the achievements of the present government in re-positioning the agriculture sector, he said two years was inadequate to meaningfully assess the government.
“We think that the Buhari government should be given more time. But that is not to wish away the hunger and starvation in the land. Non-payment of salaries is a tragedy for the common man. Labour has consistently said that payment of salaries is one of the ways of getting out the economic recession because that will boost consumers spending,” he said.
Msughter urged the presidency to set up a committee to monitor the application of Paris Club refund for the payment of salaries by the state governments. “There are allegations that the states have converted the bailout funds to other purposes. What is the Federal Government doing about this? The fact that the states are autonomous does not stop the government at the centre from ensuring that the money is judiciously used for the intended purpose,” he added.
He, however, lauded the governor of Benue State for signing the anti-grazing bill into law, saying: “I am not sure the law is against grazing but trying to confine grazing activities to clearly defined zones and no longer an open grazing that often pitches herdsmen against the farmers.
“It is my hope that this law will return Benue to the path of producing plenty food for the country because a threat to farming in Benue is an invitation to food insecurity in the country”, he added.