BY FRANKLIN ALLI
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has called on the National Assembly to immediately convene a harmonization conference to resolve grey aeas in the National Industrial Court Act recently passed by both chambers so that the amendment can take effect.
The immediate past president of the Association, Dr. Simon Chukwuemeka Okolo, who made the call, Tuesday, commended the National Assembly for the speedy amendments and passage of the National Industrial Court Act.
According to him, for the amended act to be effectively implemented the law makers had better hold a harmonization conference to resolve the few areas of divergence in the Act passed by both chambers to enable it transmit the harmonized version to the 36 states Houses of Assembly for concurrence by at least two thirds of the states legislature for the amendment to take effect.
Dr. Okolo who is also a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) believes that once the grey areas are taken harmonized it would strengthen and reposition the court to deal effectively with all labour and industrial relations matters in the country.
He noted that the establishment of the National Industrial Court was one of the major milestones in the 1976 labour sector reforms which culminated in the promulgation of the Trade Disputes Decree of 1976.
“The court was created to handle special matters which are connected with economic growth, industrial relations development, peaceful co-existence between and among labour and employers of labour as well as government,” he said.
According to him, the failure of the federal military government to include the National Industrial court in Section 6(5) of the 1999 constitution which vests the judicial powers of the federation in the courts listed therein, and referred to as superior court of record, had robbed the country of stable mechanism for settling labour, employment and industrial relation matters.
The NACCIMA chieftain noted the crucial importance of an effectively functional National Industrial Court in a nation like Nigeria that is in dire need of foreign investments, pointing out that no reasonable foreign investor would like to invest in an economy where the relationship between the employer and the employee is not cordial or peaceful or where mechanisms for speedy resolving labour and industrial relations matters, when they arise, are not put in place.
“With the amendment, the National Industrial Court is now better placed to discharge its duties adequately, especially in the resolution of the numerous outstanding industrial issues in the country.
“With this landmark achievement of the National Assembly, the coast is now clear for the National Industrial court to forge ahead with its repositioning drive and expeditious resolution of disputes”