By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
THE just concluded 102nd International Labour Conference, ILC, did not only afford Nigeria an opportunity to showcase her job creation initiatives among others, to the world, it also provided her an avenue to ask for adequate and equitable regional representation and distribution of all resources, including the recruitment of personnel of the developing nations at all levels of the International Labour Organisation.
Addressing ILC’s General Assembly, leader of the Nigerian delegation and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu commended ILO’s Director General, Mr. Guy Ryder for his report on the activities and programmes of the ILO since assuming office a year ago.
Wogu recalled the issues raised in the report in view of their relevance to the core mandate of the ILO in addressing the challenges of social justice, employment creation, social dialogue and tripartism, including the promotion of the fundamental principles and rights at work as encapsulated in the Decent Work Agenda.
He said Nigeria agreed with the seven areas identified with regards to their impact on the world of work and the challenges they present for the next centenary, saying “these transformational forces in the world of work present to us several and diverse challenges which may pose obstacles to our vision of becoming one of the most 20 technologically advanced countries in the world by the year 2020.
Prominent amongst these challenges that need to be quickly addressed include; the provision of productive and decent jobs for the teeming youth population in an environmentally sustainable manner, the provision of adequate minimal social security protection systems for the aged, unemployed, women, children, vulnerable members of society including the provision of adequate system of labour protection, the provision of relevant and adequate skills to march global developments in ICT, the raising of national productivity competitiveness in order to address the issue of poverty, employment, inequality and wages differentials, the provision of good governance systems ensuring developments in democratic and representative institutions, especially at work and in the larger society, the changing nature of work and work conditions in view of the global implications for development and inclusiveness.
FG’s Job creation initiatives
Speaking on efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to create jobs for unemployed Nigerians, the Minister said “my country in the last two years embarked on several policies, projects and programmes in various sectors of the economy in order to address these issues. The approaches are encapsulated in the “Transformation Agenda” of Mr President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The Agenda articulate policies and programmes directed at infrastructural development, especially power, transportation, tourism, agriculture, security of lives and property, revival of the real economic sector, employment creations and social security for the citizenry, transparency in governance and accountability in the use of national resources.”
He added, “In the Labour sector, the transformation agenda encompasses Key National Performance Indicators of various policies, programmes and projects which are aimed at:- Employment generation and wealth creation, Improving national productivity and competitiveness, Improving health, safety and welfare of the workforce, Enhancing industrial harmony and improving labour education and skills, Provision of social security protection and mitigating vulnerability at work, Enhancing skills development and certification, Improving the regulatory environment and application of international labour standards.
“There is no doubt that the Nigerian government has achieved several milestones in the above areas as highlighted in the mid-term evaluation report of Mr President, on the 27th of May 2013.
The programmes and associated achievements provide useful experiences for member states that are desirous for growth and development. We have made progress in the implementation of a national employment roadmap in key sectors with marked increase in the employment creation. We are on the verge of a review of the roadmap in line with current economic development and growth.”
Tasks ILO on capacity building, others
According to Wogu “With the experiences gathered in the implementation of policies, projects and programme over the years, the following recommendations are relevant for the ILO to effectively cope with the challenges of the next centenary. ILO should focus on building the capacity of its tripartite constituency in order to play a leading role in policy coherence at the multilateral levels of the UN system. Enterprise development should still remain the cornerstone of ILO strategy for promoting job growth and poverty reduction.
There is need to support member nations to improve vocational training, skills acquisition and upgrading to enhance labour intensive growth.
Thus ILO tripartite constituent should take greater interest in monitoring and evaluating of field projects to ensure that they are directed at the critical areas of the people’s need.
There is urgent need to develop the informal economy as a major source of employment generation in view of the limitation of the formal sector. The Decent Work Agenda should be extended to this level of the economy especially through social protection, training and retraining of the actors as well as facilitating access to finance through rejuvenated co-operative societies.”
He noted that “while Nigeria supports the on-going reforms in the ILO to help reposition the organization within a strong UN system, we wish to appeal for adequate and equitable regional representation and distribution of all resources, including the recruitment of personnel of the developing nations at all levels of the agency.”
While commending ILO for its support to the Nigeria government and its social partners, Wogu pledged Nigeria’s support to reposition the ILO to meet the challenges of the next centenary.