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Meeting with ILO DG, Minister of Labour requests greater degree of cooperation

Nigeria has asked for increased technical assistance and cooperation in the field of capacity building so that the Tinubu government may fulfil its strategic objectives, which include improving worker welfare and creating jobs, as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

On the fringes of the 349th Session of the ILO Governing Body, Minister of Labour and Employment Simon Bako Lalong provided the assurance during a meeting with Gilbert Houngbo, the Director General of the International Labour Organisation, at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media to the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Makut Simon Macham said that According to Lalong, Nigeria has taken significant steps to uphold workers’ rights and provide unions with the freedom to flourish while defending the rights of their members.

According to him, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration places a high value on the contributions made by workers to Nigeria’s prosperity, stability, and advancement, all of which have an effect on the world economy.

Lalong said President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda has clearly outlined the roadpmap for improving the conditions of workers as demonstrated by recent wage awards and other policies resulting from the removal of fuel subsidy.

He said the Government is also determined to create job opportunities for its teeming unemployed and under-employed youths who are a major source of strength for the nation.

On Government-Labour relations, the Minister said the Government has maintained an open door policy in dialogue and implementing collective bargaining with unions for peaceful industrial relations. 

The Minister made some requests: “The ILO may wish to consider Nigeria’s earlier request for the ILO to upgrade the ILO Office in Abuja to the status of a Technical Office (Decent Work Office) to serve English speaking West Africa; to assist in strengthening the Labour Inspectorate System in Nigeria by providing technical assistance by building the capacity of Professional Officers in the Ministry and providing working tools; Technical Assistance to see the process of reviewing Nigeria’s National Labour Bills to a logical conclusion; as the second highest African contributor to the ILO budget (next to South Africa), more Nigerian professionals be employed into the ILO to bridge the under-representation of Nigeria in the ILO workforce, both locally and internationally” he said.

Upon welcoming the Minister to ILO Headquarters, ILO Director General Gilbert Houngbo stressed the important role Nigeria still plays in fostering a strong work environment through labour participation and consultation.

He praised Nigeria’s efforts to adhere to the ILO’s conventions and other instruments, to which it is a signatory, and stated that the organisation will keep collaborating with the government to reinforce areas in need of improvement.

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