Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The federal government has said that the problem of unemployment is posing a major challenge to the existence of Nigeria as a nation.
In order to arrest the situation, government said there is need for urgent measures both at the federal and state levels for the purpose of productive employment and decent jobs for the teaming youth and job seekers through efficient delivery of public employment services.
In his address at the National Conference on Public Employment Services held in Abuja on Monday, Minister of Labour and Employment, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, said part of challenges affecting Nigeria’s Public Employment Service is poor access to labour market information.
Acting Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Chris Amadi, who represented the Minister, said that as part of measures to facilitate employment creation in the country, the Ministry established the National Electronic Labour Exchange (NELEX) – an electronic platform that enable job seekers and employers of labour to meet online.
His words: “It is a great pleasure for me to be here today to kick-start this conference of distinguished and renowned experts in the field of employment and development.
“Your presence here today is an indication of your commitment to contributing your quota towards addressing the problem of unemployment and labour market intermediation which has already weakened the foundation of our existence as a nation.”
Lalong further said that the timeliness of the conference and the appropriateness of its theme: “Addressing Labour Market Challenges through Delivering of Public Employment Services”, underscores the urgency with which government must act to activate active labour market measures both at the federal and state levels for the purpose of productive employment and decent jobs for the teaming youth and job seekers through efficient delivery of public employment services”.
The minister said that the ILO Convention 88 outlines the functions of Public Employment Service to include: Assisting workers to find suitable employment and assisting employers to find suitable workers through registering applicants for employment, taking note of their occupational qualifications, experience and desires, interviewing them for employment.
Others include evaluating, if necessary, their physical and vocational capacity and assisting them where appropriate to obtain vocational guidance or vocational training or retraining.
Obtaining from employers precise information on vacancies notified by them to the service and the requirements to be met by the workers whom they are seeking; facilitating labour market integration cushioning the impact of labour market transitions form part of the ILO Convention 88.
Further according to the Minister, “Our NELEX is intended to be a one-stop-shop that provides advance, comprehensive and integrated technology that allows job seekers, employers and other stakeholders access employment services and labour market information.”
Country Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Ms. Vanessa Phala said that apart from providing support to countries to help them place employment at the centre of their economic and social policies, the ILO engages in a wide range of technical support and capacity-building activities, policy advisory services and policy research.
She disclosed that ILO has recently conducted an assessment of public employment services.
“ILO considers Public Employment Services as an essential contributory component of well-functioning labour market systems. In this regard, and based on well-established International Labour Standards, we have continued to provide support to the Government of Nigeria, particularly in the development of the National Employment Policy, 2017 and the on-going revision process,” she said.