President Muhammadu Buhari
…Praises workers conduct amidst COVID-19 difficulties
By Victor Young
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerian workers of job security amidst fears of possible job losses due to ongoing corona virus, COVID19 pandemic, even as he appreciated workers for the way they conducted themselves notwithstanding the difficulties of the time.
Buhari who spoke through a Zoom meeting of leaders of organised labour on Friday and was represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, extended his good wishes and solidarity to the workers on the occasion of the May Day celebration.
A statement by the media aide to the Minister, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, said “The President has shown his appreciation to you for the way you have conducted yourselves in spite of the deleterious effects of this COVID-19 situation. He has extended his gratitude to the Nigerian workers for the way you have fought this corona virus.”
Reacting to fears of possible job losses as a result of COVID-19, the labour minister allayed the fears, saying government and social partners would look at the four-pillar policy responses, laid out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) “which are human-centred and built on global solidarity.”
To ensure economic sustainability post COVID-19, Ngige said a comprehensive Economic Sustainability Plan was being developed by the federal government, saying “The plan is being developed by Economic Sustainability Committee led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and comprising of Minister of Finance, Industry, Budget and Planning, Central Bank Governor and others and a committee set up by the President, comprising of Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Interior, Works and Housing, Health, Science and Technology, Labour and Employment and Education. We are saddled with the responsibility of producing a comprehensive policy for a Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19.”
According to him, talks were ongoing between the Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee and employers on job protection and even job creation at this time and progressively post COVID 19.
He reiterated that employers would not be encouraged to disengage staff without prerequisite Social Dialogue and clearance from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Ngige reassured that all relevant factors to the nation’s workforce would be identified, analysed and solidified to ensure job retention and continued realisation of decent work agenda.
He stated that employers would not be encouraged to disengage staff without prerequisite Social Dialogue and clearance from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Ngige, again praised the workers in the healthcare sector for being in the frontline of this war with the invisible enemy, and expressed government appreciation to health workers umbrella unions (JOHESU) and for medical doctors, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), for their professionalism and support at this time of global health crisis.
He said government has provided hazard allowances and life insurance for those who may lose their lives in the battle against COVID-19, as well as Employees Compensation for those who may lose suffer injuries and disabilities in the course of discharge of their duties.
Ngige however called on employees in the science, technology, and research sector of the economy to put on their thinking caps and join their colleagues throughout the world and produce cure and/or vaccine for the covid-19, for testing and other required processes and procedures.
He said if Madagascar and Senegal had done it, we could also do something greater or key into their knowledge to mass produce for the Nigerian populace, adding that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) had sent people to Madagascar and Senegal to see if they could adapt their methods to tackle COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria.