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FG decries absence of job creation policy

* Plans wage policy to check incessant strikes

By Daniel Idonor

ABUJA—THE Minister of Labour and Productivity, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, has decried the absence of  a national policy on job creation in the country and blamed the trend on past ministers who have successfully reduced the office of the minister of labour to that of industrial disputes’ settlement.

Besides, he said the Ministry of Labour and Productivity has concluded plans to roll out a National Wage Policy to systemise regular wage increases and avert regular industrial strikes that have always cost the nation huge losses in man-hours and strained relationship between government and labour unions.

The minister told newsmen in Abuja at the weekend that his ministry has mowed to change the high level unemployment in the country by ensuring that a proper policy framework is put in place for this purpose; saying that the one packaged since 2001 has remained in the books without implementation.
“We cannot continue to pay lip-service to job creation. So, the budget must lead the way and we must have a national employment fund.

‘I will make a proposal to that effect to the relevant authorities soon by Monday because we have the national employment action plan which will encompass the work which the Youth Ministry has done-the youth employment action plan and everybody,” he said.

The proposed policy, according to him, “will be a global action plan under the National Employment Policy. We have had the National Employment Policy since 2001 and it was just this year that we inaugurated the National Employment Council and began to implement it. Yes, this is not the time for criticism; it is the time for action.”.

Government, he stressed, must lead the way and must give direction and if need be weld the big stick. ”Banks must fund the real sector. We want to have not only the textile industries working; we want to have all the other production sector working.”

He lamented that the absence of a national wage policy over the years “had been responsible for disjointed wage negotiations and resultant hiccups in industrial harmony.”

The minister explained that Nigeria needs to emulate other advanced countries where public workers’ wages are periodically reviewed as a matter of policy, say, every five or six years according to the dictates of inflation and prevailing economic indices and realities.


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