By Deborah Coker
The Federal Government on Thursday reiterated its commitment to actively engage the private sector to create jobs in the country.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, made the commitment when she received representatives from the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) in her office.
Onyejeocha said in a statement issued by Mr Gabriel Emameh, Special Adviser (Media), to the minister, said the engagement with the private sector was aimed at positioning the country as an innovation hub.
According to Emameh, the NECA team was in the minister’s office to discuss ways of collaborating in training, skills development and social relations between government, the organised labour and the private sector.
Onyejeocha, while welcoming the idea of collaboration between the ministry and NECA, highlighted NECA’s key role in labour and employment relations policy formulation and implementation.
She stressed the need for synergy between the government and private sector with a view to raising the bar in reducing unemployment in the country.
She said that the Federal Government was committed to taking the youths out of the street and was also concerned about how to take people out of the streets through impactful training.
“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”.
The minister, who also spoke about the safety of workers, said that the ministry would go tough on erring factory operators in the country.
“We are going to review the operations 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,” she added.
Onyejeocha further said that it was time to think outside the box and engage social partners that would help the federal government to succeed.
She added that the unemployment market was huge and that the ministry would not take it for granted.
Earlier, Mr Adewale Oyerinde, Director-General, NECA, who led the delegation, said that the visit was informed by their shared concerns with organised labour and the ministry, adding that it was crucial to offer NECA’s unique perspective.
According to him, their visit centres on some of the interest they shared with the organised labour, and also how important it is to share their perspective with the ministry.
“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 us to reach an agreement with our social partners.
“Our aim is to pull social partners together, initiate 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 said.
He said that the private sector was the strongest body the government should rely on for job creation issues, adding that NECA was ready to help the government to provide solutions to labour issues. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola