- Says labour ministry to intensify efforts on job creation
By Paul Obi in Abuja
The federal government yesterday said the prospect of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government fulfilling its campaign promises faces a great challenge following Nigeria’s low output of oil production brought about by the recent bombings of oil facilities by the Niger Delta Avengers in the oil region.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this in Abuja while appraising the performance of government in the last one year.
According to Ngige, it is imperative that “the general over view of the polity, especially the extant economic situation is important for us to clearly situate and achieve an unbiased review of the efforts of the present administration in the last 12 months.
“At present, our OPEC production quota is 2.2 million barrels per day but the reality is that we are far away from meeting this target. As we speak, the nation produces between 1.4 – 1.5 million barrels per day, meaning that about 800, 000 barrels per day of the quota allocated to us by OPEC is lost.
“So, where other countries battle with over production and being sanctioned by OPEC, we are under-producing, unable to meet our quota. Unfortunate, you may say. This means that when we assumed office, we already had economic recession, crude oil being the major revenue earner for the country.”
The minister stated that “without enough money to take care of the needs and welfare of the citizen, which is the primary purpose of government, the prospect of swiftly fulfilling campaign promises faces serious challenge.
“Nevertheless, the administration trudged on and has recorded immense successes in many areas. In the Ministry of Labour and Employment where I have been in service as the Minister since November 11, 2015, a period of about seven months, we have taken significant steps and achieved quite a lot,” he said.
Ngige further maintained that “notwithstanding the prevailing economic down turn, government is doing its best in the provision of jobs, with emphasis though on blue-collar. The main agency of job creation is the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), which is under my ministry.
“The NDE has over one hundred skills acquisition centres across Nigeria, apart from the ones owned by some federal ministries, agencies and states. Since I came in, we have embarked on the rehabilitation and re-equipping of these NDE skills centres to enhance their training capacity.”
On labour relations, the minister said: “As you may be aware, the entire NLC and TUC have keyed into the palliatives which the federal government rolled out to cushion the effects of the increase in pump price of petrol. We have all agreed to agree!”