The federal government has appealed to the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) to provide technical support to address Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate though President Muhammadu claimed he got everything under control.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said this when the new ILO Country Director to Nigeria visited him in his office on Thursday in Abuja.
Mr Ngige noted that the support had become necessary as the number of unemployment and underemployed keep rising.
”We want to use this opportunity to ask for more technical support. It is not easy, especially in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on countries. We are hoping that ILO will carve a special place for Nigeria so that we can make (an) impact on job creation.
”We need to create jobs here. We are battling unemployment, and the figure of unemployment here in Nigeria is mind-boggling,” he said.
According to him, it has risen to 33 per cent, “and if we compute underemployed and unemployed, it will rise to 35, or 36 per cent,” the labour minister pointed out.
Mr Ngige seeking the help of the organisation, stated, ”So, we need some ILO experts to be giving to us or for them to be visiting our country on (a) quarterly basis. That is, every three months so that we can work together to fashion out things we can do to reduce the high rate of unemployment in our country.”
On the issue of labour laws, the minister disclosed that the laws were obsolete and currently undergoing review.
We have got everybody, the lawmakers on board after an initial setback, through adequate liaison with the National Assembly Committee, on Labour. We are hopeful that after the recess of the National Assembly, final legislative work on the review will commence,” he said.
The minister further said the National Labour Advisory Council, previously dogged by budget constraints, was inaugurated, with its first sitting already held.
“After budgetary constraints over the years, this 2021, we were able to weather the storm and inaugurated the body in Owerri,” Mr Ngige added.
He commended ILO for supporting the government.
The ILO Country Director, Vanessa Phala, said, “Over the years, the ILO has enjoyed quite a favourable working relationship and collaboration with the ministry, and it is my intention to maintain such.
”The purpose of our visit beyond the courtesy call is to touch base on a number of issues so that we will be able to respond accordingly to the technical requirement of the ministry,” she said.
Ms Phala explained that her visit was to inquire about Nigeria’s efforts of Nigeria to review its labour laws and progress made after the inauguration of the NLAC.