The federal government has expressed its commitment towards the protection of migrant workers against job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, gave this assurance last Wednesday in a keynote address at the virtual High Level Panel (HLP) on Labour Migration in Nigeria, which was organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the theme: ‘Implications of COVID-19 on the Rights of Migrant Workers in Nigeria’.
Presenting the address titled: ‘Accentuating the Role of Government in Protection of Migrant Workers in Nigeria in the context of COVID-19 pandemic’, Ngige said the government was making concerted and coordinated efforts and responses to address the challenges posed by the pandemic.
He described the timing of the meeting as very apt in view of the global pandemic which has resulted in severe economic and labour market shocks across the world.
The minister said COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on employment and basic services, including cost of living and economic activities, due to disruption of global supply chain.
A statement issued by his media aide, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, quoted the minister as having stated that the federal government recognises that labour migrants were among those bearing the brunt of the crisis.
Ngige said the government had made concerted and coordinated efforts and responses to address the situation, such as inclusion of migrant workers in the national pandemic preparedness and response plans as well as promoting equitable access to essential services.
He also said the federal government has been supporting businesses that are likely to employ migrants labour through fiscal and monetary policies in order to avoid job losses and keeping them on the payroll.
“Some of these interventions include N75 billion Federal Government’s COVID-19 Intervention Stimulus Fund for Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) via Bank of Industry (BOI), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stimulus package which includes N100 billion credit to households and SMEs most affected by the pandemic,” he said.
Ngige said federal government equally made provision of free testing and treatment for COVID-19, food and accommodation to migrant workers in all the quarantine facilities across the country, as well as accessible information to migrant workers about the pandemic, relevant measures, and how to protect themselves and others from being infected by the virus.