By Adedayo Akinwale
The House of Representatives has urged the federal government to lift the embargo placed on employment by federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the private sector in order to ameliorate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The House also called on members of the organised private sector to fill existing vacancies in order to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, given the interventions it may have enjoyed from the federal government and other development partners.
The resolution of the House was sequel to the adoption of the motion moved by Hon. Sani Bala at the plenary yesterday.
It urged the “federal government to lift the embargo placed on employment by directing the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF) to declare existing vacancies and direct the Federal Civil Service Commission to embark on recruitment exercise.”
Leading the debate, Bala recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, during the budget presentation in October 2019, announced an embargo on recruitment in MDAs.
He said the president recently maintained that the federal government stood on the existing embargo placed on recruitment in reaction to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fall in global oil prices on Nigerians.
The lawmaker noted that by the virtue of its role as the major employer of labour in the country, the action of the federal government not to sack or reduce salaries of its workers at the time has been applauded and has no doubt helped to reduce the worsening effects of the pandemic.
Bala stressed that in as attempt to address the adverse effects of the pandemic, the federal government instituted stimulus packages of N65 billion to assist a coalition of private sector operators; N50 billion survival funds for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and N15 billion guaranteed uptake scheme to save 500,000 jobs, among other interventions.
He further expressed worry that in addition to the two million Nigerians previously projected by the World Bank to become impoverished, a further five million Nigerians have been said to be facing poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.