109th Session of ILC: Ngige presents Nigeria’s position, highlights FG policy responses to COVID-19 pandemic

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has presented Nigeria’s position on the Report of the Director-General of International Labour Organization (ILO) and Chairperson of the Governing Body, Guy Ryder, at the 109th Session (virtual) of the International Labour Conference, holding in Geneva, Switzerland.

Presenting Nigeria’s response to the report, Ngige highlighted the Federal Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged Nigeria’s further supports to the world body.

The minister said the nation’s policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis were tailored to the ILO four-pillar policy framework for tackling the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.

He noted that it was in line with those four pillars, as was reported during the ILO Global Summit mid-last year, that the Federal Government directed the establishment of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) “to coordinate with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Subnational Governments to implement the COVID-19 protocols nationwide.”

The Federal Government also established the “Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee (PESC) to develop a credible plan to reposition the Nigerian economy post-COVID-19 crisis.”

According to Ngige, the PESC, of which the Labour Minister is a member, put in place several policy frameworks to tackle emerging issues of the time.

He added that those policy frameworks include COVID-19 Recovery Programme for the country, which cut across various sectors like Health, Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Humanitarian and Disaster Control.

Ngige listed the recovery programmes to include N50 billion targeted credit facility to support Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs); N260 Billion MSMEs Survival Fund to sustain at least 500,000 jobs in 50,000 MSMEs, and Entrepreneur Support Programme to support MSMEs.

The programmes also include, but not limited to, the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the N-Power programme, an ad-hoc youth empowerment scheme, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan and grants to farmers, as well as palliatives and various short-term and medium-term schemes for the vulnerable groups.

He stated that the government has upgraded and established health facilities, and has been in discussions with workers in the health sector to increase their hazard allowance and extend their retirement age, among other programmes.

The Minister also pledged the support of Nigeria to the call by “the WTO for waiver on intellectual property right to enable mass production of the (COVID-19) vaccine for our greater good, as no one is safe until everybody is safe.”

He disclosed that as of May 2021, “a total of 1,927.141 Nigerians had gotten their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and the number is on a daily increase, as more awareness is created and fallacies debunked.”

The Minister stated that Nigeria welcomed the report of the Director-General on the theme: ‘Work in the Time of COVID’.

Meanwhile, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is to publish a new report on the situation of domestic workers worldwide.

The report, ‘Making decent work a reality for domestic workers: Progress and prospects ten years after the adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189),’ will be launched today, June 15 2021, ahead of International Domestic Workers Day 2021 on June 16.

The launch will mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Domestic Workers’ Convention.

The report compares the working conditions of domestic workers with those of the wider population, assesses how far things have moved on since the adoption of the Convention, and the impact of COVID-19 on domestic workers.

It includes regional estimates for Africa, the Americas, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, as well as regional, sub-regional and country data.

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