Bill to Protect Private Sector Workers Scales Second Reading in Senate

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja 

The Senate has passed for second reading a bill to regulate and formalise employment of domestic workers, apprenticeship, interns and other informal sector employees in Nigeria.

Senator Mohammed Sani (APC- Niger), who sponsored the bill, while presenting it said the proposed legislation also seeks to empower the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to issue licence and monitor privately-owned agencies.

Sani said the operation in the informal sector was usually in small scale with labour-intensive production and usually private-ownership driven.

He said the participation of Nigerian economy by the informal sector showed evidence of violation of employee rights and non-implementation of labour regulations.

He said: “Informal sector in Nigeria has practice that are not in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) best practices as ratified in its convention, notwithstanding that Nigerian is a signatory to this conventions.

“There are still a lot of deficits in the implementation of these conventions. One of such area of concern relates to decent work deficit, decent work is work with fair and equal treatments, decent remuneration, and fair condition of employment, safety and social protection, opportunities for training and collective bargaining.”

He said the primary role of the bill was to regulate the sector to promote strategic objectives, promotion of rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue.

The senator said on the contrary, many jobs in the informal labour market still experience decent work deficit, adding that employees in the informal sector were often seen as having no right and are not treated fairly by their employers.

According to him, the bill seeks to correct all the ills against the workers.

He said: “This bill empowers the National Director of Employment (NDE) to issue licence and monitor the activities of employment agencies through out the country.

“The NDE shall receive an application from an agency who desires to function as an employment agency and issue licence having met the requirements and duly certified to play by the rules.

“The certification include that there is no criminal case against such agency, that it maintains proper books of accounts among other rules.”

In his contribution, Senator Sabi Abdullahi (APC- Niger) said it was also important to ensure that the bill has provision to protect employers as there have been instance where an employee treats the employer unfairly.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, thereafter, referred the bill to the Committee on Labour and Productivity for further legislative input.

The committee is expected to submit it’s report in four weeks.

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