Paul Obi in Abuja with agency report

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has tasked Nigeria and other African countries to expedite action in bringing development closer to the masses and increase their capacity building.

ILO Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Africa, Mrs. Aeneas Chuma, stated this during the 43rd ARLAC Governing Council Meeting and High Level Symposium on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work held at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

She explained that there is “the need for Nigeria and other African countries to ensure development reaches the masses at all levels.”

Chuma added that efforts are on to “make the ILO more responsive to the needs of the Africa region while also assisting them articulate issues relevant to their development.”
Nigeria was also elected the Vice Chairperson of the African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC). It was the first since the formation of the regional labour body for the English-speaking African countries in 1974.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige who led Nigeria’s delegation said the development which also yielded one of the three Deputy Directorship of the interim management structure of the organisation to Nigeria, was a loud tribute to the country’s unequalled contributions to the organisation.

“You are aware that Zimbabwe has been the chairperson of ARLAC since formation by the virtue of the fact that its headquarters is domiciled in the country. However, Nigeria reasoned the need for full democratisation of the body to enhance freedom and encourage efficiency.

“While we ceded the chairmanship to Zimbabwe and Nigeria unanimously elected Vice, it stands that periodic elections which we galvanized support for, has replaced an era where Zimbabwe or any other country would appropriate such privilege as a right,” Ngige said.

“The election shows a lot of respect, trust and faith in Nigeria’s leadership role in the continent. They appreciate our concern for Africa, our unity and our commitment to the economic and socio-political development of our continent and above all, our commitment to decent work practices where, Nigeria has domesticated almost all the ILO conventions,” he added.

The Minister further called on the Regional Labour Centre and the International Labour Organisation( ILO) to intensify capacity building of labour administrators in order to fast track development among member nations.

“The dynamics of labour administration in the face of dwindling global economy makes a strong case for an increased capacity building of labour administrators to enable nations contain emerging development challenges, hence, the need for ARLAC and the ILO to intensify efforts in this direction,” Ngige added.

He further pledged Nigeria’s continued support for the Regional Training Centre while requesting for an increased training of Nigeria’s labour officers as a reward for steadfastness and contributions.
“We have allowed labour unions to thrive, having in mind, the provisions of section 40 of our constitution on fundamental freedoms and the elaborate provisions of section 14 on the welfare of workers,” he said.

Earlier, the chairperson of ARLAC and Zimbabwe’s Minister for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Priscah Mupfumira enumerated numerous roles which the organisation play in labour administration in member countries as well as challenges facing it.
She said ARLAC would continue to provide a platform for members to review labour issues, learn from individual experience while forging a common agenda, reflective of its special needs to the International Labour Organisation.

She added that ARLAC would continue its push for labour administration to be used a tool for development in member nations and urged them to live up to their financial obligations.
Nigeria’s delegation included the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Clement Iloh, the Director General of the National Productivity Centre (NPC) Dr. Kashim Akor, the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment, Mr. Olakunle Obayan and the Director General of the Michael Imoudu Institute of Labour, Ilorin, Kwara State.