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Meltdown: Nigeria seeks ILO’s support in retaining jobs

By Funmi Komolafe, in Geneva
THE Federal Government, yesterday,  asked the International Labour Organisation, ILO, to  support her efforts at retaining jobs just as more jobs are being threatened as a result of the global economic crisis.

This came just as discussants on the  global economic  and job crisis at the on-going 99th conference of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, called for “an urgent, balanced policy approach that would combine economic recovery with jobs growth.”

Nigeria’s Labour and Productivity Minister, Chief Emeka Wogu, made the request at a meeting with ILO African Regional Director, Mr. Dan Charles, in Geneva.

The minister disclosed fresh initiatives by the Nigerian government to promote women entrepreneurship and eliminate all forms of child-labour.

Similarly, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki Moon,  called on governments world wide to ensure that economic recovery positively impact on the lives of the people in the area of job creation and improved living standards instead of adopting policies that leave the people behind.

The UN Secretary General, whose message was relayed during a panel discussion on the ”Global Jobs Pact” initiated by ILO, said, “A recovery is not meaningful if people learn about it in the newspaper. Working women and men need to see it in their own lives.”

Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Mr. Emmanuel Aziken, said, Wogu, at the meeting, also recounted recent efforts by the Nigerian government in attaining global best practise in the workplace and notably the Decent Work Country Programme.

“We are faced with challenges arising from the worldwide economic crisis which has led to wide-scale retrenchment but the Nigerian government is desirous of keeping the jobs that already exists in as much as we want to get new jobs and we want you to assist us in that regards,” Wogu told the ILO Regional Director in his Geneva office.

Chief Emeka Wogu told the ILO regional director, “On my assumption as Minister of Labour I was mindful of forced child lab our and other unfair labour practices which include but are not limited to discrimination at work places and illegal migration like trafficking in women and children.”

He listed the enactment of laws prohibiting child trafficking among other legal and institutional frameworks as part of government’s efforts against illegal trafficking.

Chief Wogu also disclosed the government’s move to check unemployment through the establishment of a data base on unemployment as part of its moves to check the trend.

“A data base that will help in the collection of information on how many people are unemployed, how many people are employed, what are the job losses and what are the key performance indicators of the interventionist agencies which we have established in Nigeria to create jobs. “

In his response, responding, Mr Charles who succeeded, Nigeria’s Ms. Regina Amadi- Njoku as regional director for Africa  said the ILO was pleased to have been informed of Chief Wogu’s background in fiscal matters an area he said would enable the Minister tackle the issues relating to the global economic crisis.

Bank Ki Moore

According to UN Secretary-General, “ Simply put: A real  recovery must reach the real economz”.

He said with the G20 meeting due to hold in Canada just a few day away and the Millennium Development Goal Summit scheduled to hold in New York also around the corner,  “Today, you undertake a vital dialogue drawing from the richness of tripartite experience around the globe”.

Commending the ILO and its over 182 country members, Nigeria inclusive for   “ focusing on productive employment and social protection to realize the Millennium Development Goals”, he said, “In countries rich and poor.  In places north and south.  It is a call from heads of State and directly from people on the street”.

Mr. Bank Ki Moon added,  “As Director-General Somavia has often said, the global jobs challenge is not just an economic or social issue.  It is a political issue.”.

He noted that “The ILO has helped lead the way with the Global Jobs Pact which is moving job creation up the priority list”.

Urging the ILO not to stop at that, he said, “ Now is the time to go even further. Yes, there is some hopeful economic news.  But there is even more uncertainty.  Far too many are left on the sidelines”.

Describing the ILO as the “ guiding way”, Mr. Ban Ki Moon said, You are guiding the way. “With social justice and fair globalization as the compass -  with productive employment and social protection as the drivers. This is the way to dignity for families…recovery for economies…and success for the MDGs”.


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