By Victor Young
In its resolve to ensure job security and prevent the sack of workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has insisted that employers in both public and private sectors cannot sack workers without approval or due process under the nation’s labour laws.
Speaking through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, the government also urged private employers not to default in salary payment to their workers, following the stimulus package provided by the government during the pandemic.
Ngige, who spoke in a keynote address at the virtual High-Level Panel, HLP, on Labour Migration in Nigeria, organised by the International Labour Organisation, ILO, with the theme, Implications of COVID-19 on the Rights of Migrant Workers in Nigeria, said: “This is also why government has continued to pay her public servants who have been at home since the pandemic, as a sign of support during the lockdown.”
Presenting an address entitled “Accentuating the Role of Government in Protection Migrant Workers in Nigeria in the context of COVID-19 pandemic,” Ngige described the timing of the meeting as apt because of the global pandemic, which has resulted in severe economic and labour market shocks across the world.
He acknowledged that the political economy of COVID-19 had had a devastating effect on employment and basic services, rising cost of living and reduced economic activities due to disruption of the global supply chain.
The minister, in a statement by his media aide, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, reiterated that the “Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, have decided to halt job losses by putting stimulus packages and increased social interventions.
Besides the employers’ issue, Ngige noted that the Federal Government recognised that labour migrants were among those bearing the brunt of the crisis and that government had made concerted and coordinated efforts and responses to address the situation, such as the inclusion of migrant workers in the national pandemic preparedness and response plans and promoting equitable access to essential services.
He disclosed that “the Federal Government has been supporting businesses that are likely to employ labour migrants through fiscal and monetary policies to avoid job losses and keeping them on the payroll.
“Some of these interventions include N75 bilion Federal Government’s COVID-19 Intervention Stimulus Fund for Small-Medium Enterprises, SMEs, via Bank of Industry, BOI, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, stimulus package which includes N100 bilion credit to households and SMEs most affected by the pandemic.”