The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a National Social Protection Policy to enhance social justice, equity and all inclusive growth in the country.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, made this known when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting, which was presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Ahmed, who addressed the correspondents alongside the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said the policy aimed at using a transformative mechanism for mitigating poverty and unemployment across the country.
She said the Council also approved the establishment of the National Council on Social Protection for smooth implementation of the policy.
Cue in audio – Ahmed
“Today, in Council we presented National Social Protection Policy. The policy is a framework which seeks to provide social justice, equity and inclusive growth using a transformative mechanism for mitigating poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.
““You will recall that the Federal Government since 2016 has started the social investment programme and each of these programmes that had been rolled out including the Home Growth School Feeding programme; the N-Power programme as well as the Conditional Cash Transfer were drawn from this policy which was in a draft form this time.
““So, what we have done today was to provide to Council and the Council approved a policy that is largely inspirational but seeks to ensure that every Nigerian citizen has at least the minimum of what is required in terms of human development and human protection,’’ she said.
Cue out audio – Ahmed
In his contribution, Ngige disclosed that the Council also approved a new National Employment Policy to address the problems of unemployment and under-employment in the country.
According to him, the last operational employment policy in Nigeria was approved in 2002, saying that the new policy was reviewed in 2013.
Cue in audio – Ngige
“”The last employment policy we have been operating in Nigeria was approved in 2002, that is 14 years and in those 14 years a lot of things have changed in labour and employment industry.
“”Things like employment for people with disabilities, decent jobs programme and doing jobs without polluting the environment and other things that are new and contemporary in the labour market.
“”So, this policy was reviewed in 2013 with technical assistance from international labour organisations and major stakeholders like employers were involved, workers’ unions and this document was crystallised and this policy seeks to give decent jobs to people,.
“”Job creation is multi sectoral, it is not limited to one ministry; not limited to the public service alone and the private sector is involved and this policy seeks to capture the relevant affected persons and people that will apply this so that we can fight unemployment and under employment.’’
Cue out audio – Ngige
On the much awaited National Minimum Wage for workers, Ngige revealed that the Federal Government would soon appoint a chairman to head the newly constituted committee on the minimum wage.
According to him, the government is still awaiting the organised labour’s nominations for representation in the National Minimum Wage Committee.
“”The only appointee which is being awaited now is the chairman and we have concluded the process for the nomination. We are waiting for the requisite approval.
“”The labour centers that is NLC and TUC are yet to bring their nominations, that is on the workers side. On the employers side, you know we have like a subunit.
“We have Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Small and Medium Scale Industry Association (SMSIA).
“These groups will give us nominations. So, we are waiting. Once these nominations are in place the president will now inaugurate the committee,” he added.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, told the correspondents that the Council approved a comprehensive 100-page Nigeria Petroleum Policy document to further transform the nation’s oil industry.
He stated that the policy captured the ongoing reorganisation in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) aimed at achieving efficiency and accountability in the corporation.
Cue in audio – Kachikwu
“It captures the issues in the Niger Delta and what we needed to do as a government is to focus on stability and consistency in the sector.
“It is a very comprehensive 100 page document that deals with all the spectrum in the industry. The last time this was done was in 2007 and it’s has been 10 years and you are aware that the dynamics of the oil industry has changed dramatically.
“”Apart from the fact of fluidity in pricing and uncertainty in terms of the price regime in crude, we are pushing for a refining processing environment and move away from exporting as it were to refining petroleum product – that is one change you will see.
“”Secondly, how we sell our crude is going to be looked at, there is a lot of geographical market we need to look at long term contracting and sales as opposed to systemic contracting we have been doing.
“”Those are the fundamentals, it’s a document if well executed will fundamentally take the change process that we began in 2015 to its logical conclusion hopefully in the next couple of years.