Nigeria’s Labour Ministry very weak — ILO

•Decries poor budgetary allocation

THE International Labour organisation (ILO) has declared that the Federal Ministry of Labour in Nigeria is very weak saying that the country cannot address the issue of employment with such a precarious situation.

However, the ILO said the issue of very weak Labour Ministry is not peculiar to Nigeria alone but same in other African countries.

The Assistant Director-General of ILO and Regional Director for Africa, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, who spoke with journalists on the peculiarity of labour administration in Nigeria said the Ministry of Labour is very weak in terms of budgetary allocations, priority attached to the ministry by the government, and in terms of performance.

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She said: “Our ministries of labour and employment are very weak. I am not just talking about Nigeria here but in Africa generally. They are weak in terms of budgetary allocations, weak in terms of the priority attached to them by the government, and also in performance.

“We cannot address the complex issues of employment promotion in Africa if our ministries of labour and employment are weak. So there has to be effective engagement, not to see ministries of labour as third tier, fourth tier ministries but seeing it as in the same level as ministries responsible for finance, defence etc.”

The ILO Assistant Director-General warned that “if we don’t tackle the issue relating to young people in terms of decent jobs for them, the consequence will be more security challenge. We can see what is happening in different part of the country already.”

She pointed out that in Nigeria, there is the need to focus on generating job particularly for young people, adding, “in this regard, key things to do; is the recognition that the responsibility for job creation, not just anyhow job but decent job is entirely government’s; and the responsibility has to be across the board. Meaning that every department and ministries of government has to be accountable, has to have responsibility for job creation, and a serious performance scale, not just the ministry of labour alone.”

She said: “Job creation is what we need to achieve the SDGs. There is no way you can go out of poverty if you don’t have good jobs. If you don’t have a decent job, the little thing or job you do cannot get you out of poverty because it is not sustainable.

“It is crucial that government have politically said that job creation is very important but it is more important to translate the political statement into action. First by integrating them into the national planning frameworks and essentially into budgets. Because it is not just to say that it is in the national planning framework or national development plan.

“In action, it should be what is in the budgetary allocation. And it should not just be in one department but across the board. And there has to be a way of seeing how the different departments are actually contributing to the implementation,” she stated.