Posted by News Express | 2 May 2020 | 1,018 times
By JOAN NWAGWU
The Federal Government on Friday said it is evolving an action plan to sustain the economy beyond the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said this in commemoration of the 2020 Workers Day celebration with the theme: ‘COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class’.
According to Ngige, it is a well known fact that arising from COVID-19 crisis, businesses in both the private and public sectors have suffered.
“Sustainability of the enterprise has become a subject of concern. The worries precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis are further compounded by worries of maintaining a source of livelihood.
“In this regard, the Government and Social Partners would have a look at the four pillar plan of policy responses to COVID-19 crisis laid out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which are intended to be human-centred and built on global solidarity.
“This would be in addition to the Federal Government evolving plan of action to sustain the economy in the context of current global crisis.
“All relevant factors to the nation’s workforce will be identified, analysed and solidified to ensure job retention, and the continued realisation of the decent work agenda,” he said.
He added that in doing this, the government will be guided by the Labour Standards as benchmarks for social and employment protection at this time of vulnerabilities.
Ngige also noted that talks were currently ongoing between the Presidential Economic Sustainability Council and Employers on job protection, job creation and progressively to post COVID-19 crisis.
“I wish to state that employers will not be encouraged to disengage staff without prerequisite Social Dialogue and clearance from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment,” Ngige said.
The minister noted that workers day are recognised as an important limb in the tripod that sustains enterprises and development.
He said workers over the years celebrate May Day and in Nigeria marching are conducted by Trade Unions and their Federations in various stadia throughout the country.
“Today, May 1, 2020, is different. The stadia are empty and there are echoes of silence.
“We are all taking refuge in our respective homes and staying off the streets in a global bid to stay alive and beat an invisible enemy called COVID-19.
“We stay at home to minimise and eventually stop the spread of the COVID-19 infection which has killed many people in the world and dwindled life and economies.
“Offices, workplaces, businesses (small and large scales), and nations are closed.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has laid siege on humanity and we must all develop and imbibe a common will to fight and conquer this enemy,” he added.
He commended employees in the healthcare sector for their call to duty and selflessness to care for the sick and the dying when none was allowed proximity to them due to the nature of the coronavirus infection.
“In appreciation, the government has introduced a special hazard and inducement allowance at this time of COVID-19 crisis.
“Also, Group Life Insurance Policy has been activated for all workers in the Federal Government Public Service as well as Employees’ Compensation for injuries, disabilities sustained and even death in the course of discharging their duties,” he said.
Ngige called on employees in science, technology and research sector of the economy to put on their thinking caps and join colleagues throughout the world and produce cure or vaccine for the COVID-19 for testing and other required processes and procedures.
He noted that Madagascar and Senegal have done it, adding “we can also do something greater or key into their knowledge to mass produce for the Nigerian populace”.
He called on workers to observe all authorised guidelines on how to stay safe, especially with the partial lift of the lockdown for some states of the federation.
“Wash your hands regularly and observe Social Distancing. When the time comes, return to your places with greater zeal to minimise crisis impact,” he said. (NAN)
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