The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has called on the National Assembly to increase the budgetary allocation of the ministry to meet its operational needs.
He made the appeal while defending the ministry’s 2020 budget estimate before the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity on Monday in Abuja.
Ngige said that it had not been rosy for the ministry because the fund had been the ministry’s major problems.
The minister said that this emanated from the fact that most of its activities were looked upon as been intangible.
“We are not building roads, bridges, airports, but we are assisting the country to maintain a big and good social milieu that will make for the security of everybody.
“If we are allowed to perform our role by adequate funding, we will pursue job creation.
“Like in pursuing job creation, like the Federal Executive Council has done to us now, any memo that comes to council without saying the quantum of jobs been created, directly and indirectly, that memo will not fly.
“We are handicapped because our offices don’t have vehicles and full personnel.”
He said that one of the ministry’s mandates was workplace safety which was an important and delicate aspect of labour administration that needed to be reinforced.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu, said that the core responsibility of the committee was to conduct oversight overall labour-related matters.
He said that the forum was held to enable the committee members to understand the clear mandate, challenges and prospects of each Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) under the committee’s oversight functions.
“Working with the various stakeholders in the labour industry, the committee will intensify efforts to create, sustain and promote peaceful industrial relations, enhance productivity and skills, safe and decent working environment as well as universal social coverage in the country.
“In his address during the inauguration of the Committees of the Senate, the President of the Senate emphasised the need for the total core operation of the executive arm of government to be forthcoming and responsive to the engagement and requests of committees.
“In this regard, MDAs under the oversight of this committee are expected to cooperate promptly as the need arises,” he said.
He said that it was the intention of the committee to resubmit Bills from the 8th Assembly that could not be passed.
The chairman noted that the Bills when passed into law, would improve employment generation, among others.
“The attention of the committee has been drawn to the cases of illegal recruitment of persons, uncoordinated implementation of projects, programmes and inflation of contracts in some MDAs.
“The committee will in due course investigate all these unwholesome practices,” Uwajumogu said.
The lawmaker, however, appreciated the minister and the minister for state for the hard work put in to avert national strike over the new minimum wage.