By Akpandem James, Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
Labour matters command a very high priority in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma told a team from the International Labour Organization (ILO) which visited him in Abuja.
The team, led by the Assistant Director of ILO who is also the Regional Director for Africa, Ms Cynthia Samuel-Olajuwon, was in the Minister’s office to brief him on the implications of the just released World Social Protection Report to Nigeria, as well as intimate him of the centenary celebration of the organization planned for 2019.
The Minister told the team that the importance the administration attaches to labour issues is evident in the pride of place given human capital development in the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as investing in our people is one of the three broad objectives of the plan.
He explained that The ERGP, which is a product of wide consultation, is Government’s response to the challenges it met on ground on assumption, pointing out that it is an ambitious four- year plan developed to dramatically turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
This plan, he added, is aimed at increasing the productivity of the Nigerian economy by improving on its human capacity as well as encouraging private sector investment. It has an objective of restoring growth, investing in our people and building a globally competitive economy.
He said government is determined to pursue its human capital investment effort through social inclusion, job creation and youth empowerment as well as improved human capacity.
While applauding the efforts put in by ILO in producing the World Social Protection Report, the Minister said Nigeria will draw from the expertise of the ILO on labour matters, noting that Nigeria is very active in the organization as exemplified by its level of representation in the global body.
He thanked the organization for choosing Nigeria as one of the ten countries in the world where the global Social Protection Report is launched, a development which indicates the importance accorded the country by the ILO. “You can count on our continuing support and strong collaboration”, the Minister added.
Earlier, the leader of the team, Ms Samuel-Olajuwon, had told the Minister that Nigeria was chosen as one of the countries to launch the organization’s global report because of its importance to ILO globally and Africa in particular.
The report was launched in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said apart from the fact that Nigeria has a very strong representation at the ILO, it was the first country in Africa where the ILO office was established.
Ms Samuel-Olajuwon also explained that the organization’s collaboration with Nigeria is anchored on the Medium Term Framework which emphasizes issues of employment, social protection and labour market governance issues, among others.