Employers task ministers on purpose-driven initiatives
Seek review of industrial law, policy
AS the new ministers settle down to work, Nigerians from all works of life have tasked them to hit the ground running.
Specifically, they noted that the country is presently at its lowest ebb; hence the ministers must ensure that they carry out their duties towards the up-liftment of the nation’s economy.
Speaking on the expectation from the ministers, the Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Segun Oshinowo, said high hopes are on the new ministers to turn around the dwindling fortune of the nation.
“As far as we are concerned, they are all hopes and until hopes turn to reality, we will just leave it at the level of hope. The point really is that we are expecting that with the kind of confidence which Mr. president has in them in appointing them to man the various portfolios will translate to reality, and reality and result is not going to be in the medium and long time because this economy really is in a parlous state and they will have to hit the ground running right away”, Oshinowo said.
Besides, he also noted that most of the ministers actually suit the portfolios given to them, adding that they must all bring their experiences to bear in their new duties.
“For instance the issue of infrastructure, our infrastructure is in a complete state of decadence and I’m quite happy that somebody like the former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola has been given the responsibility to improve the key infrastructural stock of this economy. Road is within his portfolio, which is very key to growing any economy and we hope that the kind of miracle which he invoked in Lagos, he will be able to replicate at the international level. It is a time for all hands to be on deck and as I said, right from day one we will start accessing their performances”, he said.
Oshinowo while setting agenda for the minister of labour, Dr. Chris Ngige said the nation’s industrial relations policy was obsolete.
According to him, the minister must as a matter of urgency carry our a policy review of the nation’s existing labour law with a view of fine-tuning it to suit present day reality.
Specifically, he alleged that the only industrial law operational in the country has been in existence since 1978, adding that it no longer suits present day realities.
He explained that for the economy to grow industrial harmony and peace is key in both the public and private sector hence the minister must put modalities in place to ensure that these are brought to bear.
The labour minister must first realize that for the economy to grow industrial harmony and peace is key in both the public and private sector and we will expect him to take a look at our current industrial relations policy, structure and raise questions as to the extend that this structure and this process will guarantee industrial harmony and peace.
Our industrial relations policy has been on paper since 1978. Events and time have overtaken our current industrial relations policy, our structure is obsolete, so we are all living a lie as far as our industrial relation structures and policies are concerned. Those are key issues that should make any head of the ministry of labour initiate a process of reforms right away, the end product of which should be industrial harmony, which is key to national development”, Oshinowo said.
Also speaking on the development, an economist, Ikhere Otoide said expectations from the ministers are high as the country has been without serious economic activities since the present administration came into office.
He said the ministers must ensure that the hopes reposed on them are not toyed with.
Otoide said the ministers must put measures in place to ensure that the dwindling fortune of the country vis-à-vis diversification of the economy must be brought to bear.
“Given the continuous plummeting price of the oil, the new ministers must bring their wealth of experience to bear in the present administration’s quest to diversify the economy from an oil based one. They must all be ready to work the talk by ensuring that the glory of the country is restored. Economic activities that have been at the lowest ebb since the administration was sworn in must be made to pick up.
A lot is being expected from them and we hope that they will not disappoint millions of Nigerians who are looking up to them.
The new minister of finance must come up with good economic policies that will drive the economy back up”, Otoide said.
Meanwhile, the minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on resumption of office pledged the ministry’s commitment to be at the forefront of the battle against the menace of unemployment in Nigeria.
Addressing management and staff of the Ministry in Abuja, Ngige said: “We will be at the fore-front of the battle to stop the scourge of unemployment in the country. We must as a people put on our thinking caps so that we can chart the way forward for employment generation”
According to the Minister, Government alone cannot provide everybody with employment, noting that it can only create enabling environment for all other sectors to strive, and “Ministry of Labour and Employment is part of the engineering that will pave ways for the private sector to generate jobs through developmental focused labour laws among others”
Speaking further, according to a statement issued by Deputy Director (Press), Samuel Olowookere, the Minister affirmed zero tolerance for leakages and corrupt practices in the country
He said: “We are the catalyst, the change agent of the change era; if we block leakages in our systems the country will be better for it as resources will be made available for economic growth of the nation”.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, James Ocholi, expressed confidence in the expertise of Management and staff of the Ministry, which he believes is in line with the change mantra of the present administration.