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Unemployment Level is alarming – Ngige

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From left: Director-General, International Organisation of Employers (IOE), Mr Roberto Suarez; Ngige; NECA President Taiwo Adeniyi; Ms Samuel-Olonjuwon and Executive Director, Federation of Kenya Employers, Jacqueline Mugo.

Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr. Chris Ngige has said the Federal Government is deeply concerned about the alarming unemployment rate on the continent.

He said it is working with African leaders to address the intractable unemployment challenge comprehensively and holistically through well targeted interventions.

Speaking at the sixth Africa Social Partners Summit on Job Creation in Africa, organised by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Council (NECA), at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Ngige said the government has reviewed the National Employment Policy. He said the review was borne out of the need to come up with additional strategies that would be adopted to further stimulate employment  and raise the labour absorption capacity of the  economy.

“It was also intended to develop new strategies which will address the challenges of unemployment, under-employment and poverty, while creating economic opportunities for productive and remunerative employment for Nigerians.

“The government is conscious of the fact that most of the unemployed are those without functional skills.

“Our strategies therefore is to equip the unemployed youths with market-driven skills which facilitates access to self or paid employment,” Ngige said.

The President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who attended the summit, said wages in Africa were the poorest around the world, saying for a continent endowed with enormous mineral and human resources, this is totally unacceptable.

“It is sad that while other regions have deservedly elevated the wage discourse to decent and living wages, many African governments and employers still see minimum wage as some sort of luxury for workers. Workers all over Africa demand for wage justice.

“We appreciate our social partners in Nigeria for facilitating a new national minimum wage of N30,000 for  workers. We urge social partners all over the continent to take seriously the issue of wage justice.

In a continent where periodic review of national minimum wage has become the mother of all struggles, we must question our commitment to a truly inspiring economic growth and creating the much-needed jobs.

“In order to create sustainable jobs for Africa’s teeming youth, African governments must create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

We call on our governments to fix and expand existing infrastructure especially roads, rails, and electricity which are critical for industrialisation.

We stress on affordable power. Government must provide the power to power the aspirations of millions of our youth. We must also avoid multiple taxation as it increases the cost of doing business in Africa.

“While we support government initiatives on the ease of doing business, we must build the infrastructure for the future we desire.

If we reduce the high incidence of official corruption, there will be enough funds to fund economic growth and bring about shared prosperity.

“Whatever we do, we must ensure that the quantum leap in human population in Africa must not lag behind proactive visioning and action by government.

We must plan and act like tomorrow is already here because Africa’s tomorrow is already at the door heavily pregnant,” he said.

Ms Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said constructive social dialogue was key to the implementation of Africa transformation agenda.

Also, the Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, Samuel-Olonjuwon, said such agenda would require collaboration among governments, employers and workers.

“It requires the contribution of proactive, effective, representative employers and workers organisations. It requires a spirit of constructive collaboration, where different interests are able to meet for a common good and goal.

“As social partners, you have a key role to play in demanding, but also inspiring and facilitating the kinds of reforms that will meet the decent jobs challenge in Africa,” she said.

The Director-General, NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, said the task of jobs creation was collaborative between the private and public sector.

“Though, we know, the private sector is the real sector of the economy, the government has a role which is very critical.

“For the private sector to create employment, it must be able to work in an enabling environment for it to do its business and for businesses to thrive and survive and to sustain those jobs they have created.

“The starting point is for government to create an enabling environment by ensuring that businesses thrive in the economy, competitive and sustainable.

“This is done through the policy direction of government,” Olawale said.

Source – The Nation News

Agolo Uzorka
the authorAgolo Uzorka

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