June 19, 2009

National policy against child-labour under way

By Funmi Komolafe
A national policy against child labour is being considered by the Federal Government in an accord with the ILO that  child labour is antithesis to decent work. Therefore, efforts are being made to eradicate the  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 up   capacity-building,  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 “serve the sub-region more effectively.”

The minister affirmed the government’s commitment to  gender equality  in the workplace.

He said,  “government  has set gender desks in all  ministries and agencies  and has recently  reviewed upward, the maternity leave from 12 to 16  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.

“This situation also worsened the poverty level in many member-states  of ILO and threatened the gains already  made towards attaining the millennium development goals.”

The minister  explained that this  necessitated the convening of the National Employment Summit in Abuja with the technical support of the  ILO office for Africa in April 2009.

Also, government has created safety nets to  protect  Nigerians from the negative impact of the global crisis on human beings.

Such efforts include,  plans to have a comprehensive social security police for the country.

In addition,  he said  “  the draft bill on employees’ compensation  is now awaiting the third public hearing  before its passage into legislation by the National Assembly.”

The minister said government  “ recognises the cardinal objectives of safe and healthy working conditions  and environment as components  of integrated national development”,  Therefore he said, “ the extant Factory Act and other related Labour legislations are being reviewed  by the national assembly”.

On HIV/ AIDS in the world of work, the minster  called for “a comprehensive  recommendation  that will address the  devastating effects that this scourge has had on human resources  development of many nations, particularly in sub-saharan Africa.

In Nigeria, the  ministry of labour and productivity in conjuction with social partners has developed a National Policy  on HIV/AIDS in work places”.