FG Unveils New National Policy on Labour Migration

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EU commends Nigeria’s foreign remittance
Paul Obi in Abuja
The federal government on Tuesday unveiled a new national policy on labour migration in order to give Nigerians comparative advantage in the labour market.

The move is geared towards boosting decent job opportunities aimed at surmounting the challenges of countless Nigerian illegal immigrants, some of whom die trying to cross the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, unveiled the National Policy on Labour Migration and also inaugurated two committees: Technical Working Committee and Social Partner Advisory Committee for  implementation of the policy.

The ceremony had in attendance, the Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Enira Krdzalic, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU), Richard Young, the Country Director of the International  Labour Organisation (ILO), Dennis Zulu, Labour Migration representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Justice, Women Affairs, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other relevant government agencies.

According to Ngige,  “This is of utmost concern to the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as no responsible government will sit back and watch the depletion of its human resources which is the most critical factor of production and national development.’’
Ngige explained that the risk associated with irregular migration and its impact on Nigeria’s human resources and development necessitated the development of the labour migration policy.

The minister contended that “the risks associated with irregular migration and its impact on the country’s human resources and national development necessitated the development of this coherent policy on labour migration which aims at promoting decent work and respectability of migrant workers.”

He noted that the objective of the policy was to promote the good governance of labour migration, protect immigrant workers as well as their welfare and optimise the benefits of labour migration on development.
The minister further remarked that the policy conferred Regular Immigrant Status on persons in their countries of destination, saying that the policy was developed with technical and financial support from the International Organisation for Migration and the International Labour Organisation.

He added that the framework for achieving the implementation of the policy included “the establishment of job centres for the placement of job seekers into genuine vacancies, notified by employers from across the country and abroad.”
“Towards this end, the Ministry of Labour and Employment with technical and financial support from ILO, and IOM and funding from the European Development Fund equipped six functional job centres in Bauchi, Kaduna, Delta, Anambra and Abuja. The job centres provide the platform for matching demand and supply in the labour market.”

The minister gave the internet web address of the National Electronic Exchange (NELEX) as www.nelexnigeria.com, adding that, Migrants Resource Centres(MRCs) for the provision of migration related information has also been provided at two of the Job Centres in Lagos and Abuja.

Earlier in her remarks, the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration, Ms. Enira Krdzalic, said the policy was the product of the 10th European Union Development Fund project entitled, “Promoting Better Management of Migration in Nigeria,” revealing that the policy “commenced way back in 2008 with technical support of IOM and the ILO through the participatory process, involving national stakeholders.”

She said IOM has been supporting the Nigerian government in the development of initiatives for effective migration management and further described the inauguaration as a landmark.
Krdzalic urged the Ministry to ensure wide dissemination of the policy and build synergy with relevant stakeholders.
Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union, Richard Young, said Nigeria was one of the top five countries of the world with the highest global remittances; about $21 billion by 2012 estimate, noting that Nigeria would benefit immensely from a robust implementation of the labour migration policy.

Young maintained that with over 5 million Nigerians living abroad,  foreign remittance will continue to impact on the country’s economy, as well as shape business across continents.
Similarly, the ILO Country Director, Dennis Zulu restated the commitment of the ILO to the success of the policy in Nigeria and re-emphasized the importance of labour migration policy as universally acceptable labour best practices.