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Ngige decries low budgetary allocation to labour ministry

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[FILE] Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has decried the low budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The Minister said increased allocation will boost the efficiency of his Ministry in the discharge of its administrative responsibilities.

Ngige made the request while presenting the 2020 budget proposals of the Ministry before the National Assembly Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity.

According to the Minister, the meagre allocation to the Ministry over the years was a due misconception about the functions the Ministry renders, which are erroneously seen as intangible.

He said: “We are not building roads, bridges, airports, and other physical structures, but we are assisting the country to maintain a good social milieu that will ensure adequate stable environment for people to carry out their businesses without any hitches, which helps stabilise the economy for sustainable development and growth. If we are empowered to perform our role with adequate funding, we will be in a position to pursue job creation activities.
 
“Like in pursuing job creation, the Federal Executive Council has instructed that any memo that comes to Council without saying the quantum of jobs that will be created directly or indirectly, that memo will not fly.”

Presenting the breakdown of the 2020 budget proposal to the Joint Committee, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, William Alo, said out of the sum of N4,260,587,567.71 kobo submitted as capital cost to the Budget Office, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the sum of N2,881,052,588.89 kobo was approved for the Ministry for 2020 capital projects and programmes leaving a deficit of N1, 379,534,978.82 kobo.

According to the Permanent Secretary, the sum of N693,587,740.00 kobo was submitted and approved by the Budget Office, Ministry of Finance, as overhead cost budget in line with the mandate in the call circular that all MDAs should maintain 2019 overhead budget ceiling.

Alo also said while the sum of N3,792,267,859.00 was submitted to the Budget Office, Ministry of Finance, as personnel budget, only the sum of N3, 485,035,205.92k was approved to the Ministry from January 2019 to December 2020, leaving a shortfall of N307,232,653.08kobo.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, said the core responsibility of the Committee is to conduct oversight over all labour-related matters.

According to him, working with the various stakeholders in the labour sub-sector will enable the Committee to intensify its effort in creating, sustaining, and promoting peaceful industrial relations thus enhancing productivity, skills, safe and decent work environment.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to Africa’s integration through the promotion of trade, movement of persons, goods and services, and infrastructural development.
Keyamo stated this when he received in audience, a delegation of the African Union (AU) Labour Migration Advisory Committee, led by Dr Alves D’Almada.

He said Nigeria will always be in support of African Integration, but not to the detriment of the laws of individual sovereign states in the continent.
 
“African integration should benefit all countries, it should be symbiotic, not parasitic, not a relationship that one country will benefit at the detriment of another,” he added.

He observed that the issue of irregular migration to Europe and other non-African countries constituted a big problem in Africa, which should not be tolerated nor encouraged, saying: “We need to encourage total African integration to stop migration through illegal means.”

Keyamo then pledged Nigeria’s readiness to assist in legislation and policy to support the Committee in promoting African integration

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, D’Almada, said they were in the Ministry to explore ways of collaboration between the Committee and the Federal Government to further promote African integration through job creation for the people, managing migration issues, promoting free movement of goods and services, and addressing the issue of visa-on-arrival in the continent.
D’Almada requested the assistance of the Ministry in hastening the process of ratification and domestication of laws that concern the free movement of persons, goods and services.

He commended the Nigerian government on the successful negotiation of a new national minimum wage for its workers.

 
 


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