Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has urged the member-countries of the African Regional Labour Centre (ARLAC) to adopt active policies and programmes to tackle unemployment and poverty in order to check the consequential social tension and violent crimes.
Ngige, in statement issued by the Deputy Director and Head of Public Relations Unit in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, made the call at the 46th Session of the ARLAC with the theme: “Strategic Objective on Social Protection” held over the weekend in Kampala, Uganda.
The minister, who is also the Chairman of the Government Group of the Governing Board of the ILO, told the gathering that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has relatively achieved a synchronisation with the ILO’s development template through the strategic operationalisation of an integrated employment and empowerment strategy in the national development paradigm.
“The pro-employment macroeconomic policies for job creation ought to be a multi-sectoral agenda of government, traversing ministries and agencies. This is exactly what the federal government of Nigeria is currently doing by setting clear targets on key economic sectors with high propensity for job creation such as agriculture, mining, works and housing,” he said.
The minister said poverty reduction could easily be achieved by harnessing the efforts of various agencies and departments charged with the strategic objective of social protection.
“Africa is replete with tales of worrisome level of child labour, human trafficking and exploitation, irregular migration, youth restiveness, terrorism, armed banditry and arson among others. Addressing this as the theme of this high level symposium could not have therefore come at a more auspicious time,” he said.
Ngige said there’s need to ensure faithful implementation of the pro-people development model as articulated by the Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder, during the International Youth Conference in Abuja last year.
This, according to him, included “the pro-employment and economic policies, policy investments in education and skills, promotion of youth entrepreneurship and employment, labour market policies as well as respect and protection of the rights of the young persons.”
The minister also noted that notwithstanding challenges, Nigeria has increased focal investment in education and skills acquisition in order to contain the mismatch between educational skills and demands of the labour market.
“We are working to align the prerequisites of the labour market with the capacity of the labour force in a way to create synergy and ease responsiveness to innovations. Our Ministry of Labour and Employment is currently spearheading the shift of emphasis from white collar job to the growing opportunities that abound in the blue collar market in line with the changing world of work,” Ngige said.