By Solomon Elusoji and Ayodeji Ake
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has assured Nigerians of improvements in employment opportunities.
He made this remark at the 60th anniversary and Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Employerâ€™s Consultative Association (NECA), held in Lagos recently.
While pledging to collaborate with NECA and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to reduce the alarming unemployment rate in the country under the present administration, he noted that the federal government is playing an important role by improving the quality of workersâ€™ welfare. He equally charged NECA to extend its services by building zonal offices in other parts of the country where the volume of unemployment is high.
â€œAs a social partner, I congratulate NECA on her 60th anniversary,â€ he said. â€œThe federal government is playing an important role in the labour market of the country. Also, NECA should take a look back to the 20th century and compare it to the 21st century. The difference between the centuries is that the 20th century is the analogue age, while the 21st century is the digital age.
â€œNECA should have an extension of zonal offices across the nation. I don’t know if they have branches in Kano, Kastina and other parts of the country. If no, NECA should work on those places where there are high population of unemployed people.â€
At the event, which was also attended by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Ngige stressed the need for small scale businesses in the NECA scheme, in order to create more employment opportunities. He blamed the rise of insurgency on the alarming rate of unemployment in the country.
â€œAll insurgencies in the country today, like Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers and all, are as a result of not having something tangible to do,â€ he said.
The president of NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, who was present at the event, said the only tactic to improve the economy is to marry capital and labour for effectiveness. â€œOne of the major challenges facing the business environment is high tariff and other issues. There is no way the business sector will grow if capital and labour does not become husband and wife, because we need to work hand in hand,â€ he said.
The president of NECA, Mr. Larry Ettah, spoke on the sick state of the nationâ€™s economy. â€œMy message still remains; we are still here because we are strong creatures of hope. Hope of a better tomorrow where enterprise would flourish rather than struggle to existâ€, he said.
He said one of the strategic ways to rise out of the recession was to advocate for business friendly policies that will enthrone an enabling environment supportive of sustainable and competitive enterprises.
Emphasising on the business and economic challenges, Ettah acknowledged and commended the government on improving access to foreign exchange for all enterprises, irrespective of size, and the Execute Orders made by the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in particular the ones that are aimed at removing the bottlenecks at both our seaports and airports.