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FG to review occupational safety and health operations

. Partners private sector in job creation

By Tochukwu Bliss

The federal government, yesterday, revealed plans to review the operations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Department’s template under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

This is even as it solicits the support of the private sector to ignite a job boom aimed at positioning Nigeria as an innovation hub.

The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, was quoted as saying this when members of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), visited her office in Abuja.

In a statement by her media aide, Gabriel Emameh, the Minister was said to have expressed concern over the safety of workers, adding that the Ministry would go tough on erring factory operators in the country.

The statement reads in party: “We are going to review the operations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Department of the Ministry of Labour and Employment because we must have a template. This is one area I want you to come into, too.

“We will have to look into what some people are raising as factories, where Nigerian workers are being exposed to all forms of danger.

“Not every structure should be called or used as a factory. We are not only going to deal with employment, but the environment where Nigerian workers are employed.

“Factories should have a physician, convenience, and restaurants because every Nigerian worker has a right to life. We must always put into consideration the employees’ safety wherever they are employed.”

Regarding job creation, the NECA team disclosed that their mission was to discuss ways of collaborating in training, skills development and social relationships between the government, organised labour and the private sector.

Ms Onyejeocha, while welcoming the idea of collaboration between the ministry and NECA, noted NECA’s key role in labour and employment relations policy formulation, and implementation.

She stressed the need for synergy between the government and the private sector with a view to reducing unemployment in Nigeria.

She reiterated the federal government’s commitment to taking the youths out of the street, and I am more concerned about how we can take people out of the street through impactful training.

We must create an environment where everyone fits in. We must work very hard to make sure that we create employment for the unemployed.

Action plan

The Minister continued: “We need to look out for people who are willing to be employed and skilled. I charge you to look at the areas where we can achieve these goals because I want a situation where we can work in synergy.

“I also want to thank you for your offer of collaboration and capacity building. I have keyed into the mission and vision of NECA.

“And this is because I have always seen myself as every Nigerian out there, and I feel what they pass through. We should all be on the same page.

“We must create an environment where everyone fits in. We must work very hard to make sure that we create employment for the unemployed. We will work with you 100 per cent because we are partners in progress.”

Ms Onyejeocha further said it was time to think outside the box and engage social partners that would help the government to succeed, seeing as the unemployment market was huge and the Ministry would not take it for granted.

Earlier, the Director-General, NECA, Adewale Oyerinde, who led the delegation, said: “We are here because we share some interest with organised labour, and we felt it is very important to share our perspective with you.

“We believe that we all should operate within the confines of the law that guides Nigerian workers. We also believe in social dialogue because it helps in coming to an agreement with our social partners.

“We aimed at pulling social partners together, private sector conversation on how we can maximise our human resources in terms of job creation, how to maintain industrial peace, and to deepen employees’ education.”

He described the private sector as the strongest body the government can rely on for job creation issues, adding that NECA “is ready to help government to provide solutions to labour issues.”

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