By Funmi Komolafe
A national policy against child labour is being considered by the Federal Government in an accord with the ILO thatÂ child labour is antithesis to decent work. Therefore, efforts are being made to eradicate theÂ phenomenon.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, said this in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday, while addressing the 98th session of the International Labour Conferences.
He, however, appealed to the International Labour Organisation ( ILO) to set upÂ Â capacity-building,Â monitoring, and evaluation of field projects to enhance effective implementation of programmes in member-states
Kayode also called on ILO to upgrade the office in Abuja to â€œserve the sub-region more effectively.â€
The minister affirmed the governmentâ€™s commitment toÂ gender equalityÂ in the workplace.
He said,Â â€œgovernmentÂ has set gender desks in allÂ ministries and agenciesÂ and has recentlyÂ reviewed upward, the maternity leave from 12 to 16Â weeks, with full pay in recognition of the ILO Convention on Maternity Protection, No. 183 of 2000.”
He said Nigeria shared the concern of ILO on the global jobs crisis and supports its effort at addressing the situation.
â€œThis situation also worsened the poverty level in many member-statesÂ of ILO and threatened the gains alreadyÂ made towards attaining the millennium development goals.â€
The ministerÂ explained that thisÂ necessitated the convening of the National Employment Summit in Abuja with the technical support of theÂ ILO office for Africa in April 2009.
Also, government has created safety nets toÂ protectÂ Nigerians from the negative impact of the global crisis on human beings.
Such efforts include,Â plans to have a comprehensive social security police for the country.
In addition,Â he saidÂ â€œÂ the draft bill on employeesâ€™ compensationÂ is now awaiting the third public hearingÂ before its passage into legislation by the National Assembly.â€
The minister said governmentÂ â€œ recognises the cardinal objectives of safe and healthy working conditionsÂ and environment as componentsÂ of integrated national developmentâ€,Â Therefore he said, â€œ the extant Factory Act and other related Labour legislations are being reviewedÂ by the national assemblyâ€.
On HIV/ AIDS in the world of work, the minsterÂ called for â€œa comprehensiveÂ recommendationÂ that will address theÂ devastating effects that this scourge has had on human resourcesÂ development of many nations, particularly in sub-saharan Africa.
In Nigeria, theÂ ministry of labour and productivity in conjuction with social partners has developed a National PolicyÂ on HIV/AIDS in work placesâ€.