The Federal Government says it is planning to convert the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) into a commission to give it more power in its operations in the country.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige disclosed this while receiving the management team of the Industrial Arbitration Panel in his office on Thursday in Abuja.
Ngige said that the establishment of the commission would enable the panel address most of the challenges being faced in the discharge of its responsibilities
“The labour institutional bill we had in the National Assembly expired with the 7th National Assembly.
“So, we are going to represented the bill to the 8th National Assembly that would take care of converting the panel into a commission.
“ We are representing it for your place to be evolved in to a commission and if it is made a commission the benefits are monumental.
“As it will cut down cost of people going for litigation in the courts. It also will give speedily dispensation of industrial relations cases as justly and equitably.
“So justices will be brought quickly to the door steps of the Nigerian workers and their employers, ”he said.
The Minister said that the establishment of the commission would enable the panel to give its judgment without fear or favour and without discrimination.
Ngige also noted that the ministry was also working on the outdated IAP rules guiding the establishment of the panel.
“We have worked on the new set of rules which will be sent to the Attorney-General office for fine-tuning, so that it will be promulgated as rules that will guide you.
“The new rules will make you better in handing of cases that come to you, ” he added.
Earlier, Mr Dunama Azura, Chairman of the panel, said that the panel has been operating with outdated guidelines and rules guiding dispute resolutions.
Azura appealed to the minister to prevail on the government to convert the panel to a commission as being practiced globally.
He said the only document guiding the operation of the panel was a four paragraph rules, which has hampered their performance.
He added that in spite of the challenges, none of its decisions has been upturned by the National Industrial Court.
The IAP Chairman said that converting the panel into a Commission would save a lot of resources for the government.
He also appealed to the government to consider the welfare of members of the panel in view of the risk involved in their assignments.