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FG to extend social security to informal sector, says Ocheni

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Prof. Stephen Ocheni has disclosed that the absence of Social Security data on the informal economy is an anomaly that contributes immensely to the exposure of workers to precarious and dangerous work conditions in the country.

The Minister spoke while declaring open a one day capacity-building workshop on the Collection of Credible Social Security Data for the informal economy in Nigeria for National Development.

According to the Minister: “In order to actualise all-inclusive economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Ministry of Labour now seeks to promote Nigeria Decent work Agenda by extending Social Security Coverage to the population in the informal sector.” This, according to him, has become an important factor in determining the sustainability of the economies of many nations. That must be recognised when discussing the sustainable economic development of our country as a whole.

Ocheni said informal economy transcended a wide variety of unorganised and small-scale activities that have over time, sustained the country’s urban and rural poor.

The Minister stressed that  “Statistics from the International Monetary Fund, IMF, revealed that a significant portion of any nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is made up of the informal economy. Regrettably, a substantial number of people are found in the informal economy with little or no access to social security benefits, thus left vulnerable and with significant obstacles to economic and social development.

Therefore, neglecting this all-important segment of the economy would be retrogressive and self-defeating as social security benefits are considered key instruments in the fight against poverty and are also important for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bolaji Adebiyi represented by his Technical Adviser, Emmanuel Igbinosun, said: “The contribution of statistics in this rapidly changing environment has become even of greater importance in this increasingly complex world, the availability of high quality statistics is vital in facilitating decision-making for both the private and public sectors of the economy especially now that the world has greater demands for higher levels of transparency.”

In their separate goodwill messages, the Country Director, International Labour Organisation, ILO, Dr. Dennis Zulu, and the representative of NECA, Adenike Ajala, appreciated the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment for taking concrete steps in the direction of ensuring the promotion and collection of credible social security data from the Informal Economy in Nigeria.

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