Labour Minister’s response to ILO DG’s report

Minister of Labour, Sen. Chris Ngige
Minister of Labour, Sen. Chris Ngige

Response To The Report Of The Chairperson And The Director-General Of The International Labour Organization (ILO) By The Honourable Minister Of Labour And Employment, Federal Republic Of Nigeria, Senator (Dr) Chris Nwabueze Ngige, At The 106th International Labour Conference Of The ILO, Geneva, 8th June, 2017


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Nigerian delegation, I bring you fraternal greetings from the Government and people of Nigeria. I congratulate the Chairperson on your well deserved election. I also congratulate the Director-General for his hardwork and managerial skills in piloting the affairs of our organization since assumption of office for a second term.

2.     Nigeria expresses her commitment to the Green Initiative as climate change poses the greatest threat to the world especially Africa.  The adverse effects can be found everywhere in our ecosystem which have manifested in the difficulties associated with the generation of sustainable income, employment opportunities, eradication of poverty and the promotion of better livelihood for the citizenry.

3.     A manifestation of the adverse climatic condition in my country was the recent outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis which resulted in the death of over 1000 people predisposed by the extreme heat waves which assisted an uncontrollable meningitidis bacteria multiplication.  We therefore cannot but agree with the Director-General, that the mitigation of climate change is the most paramount element in shaping the present state and future condition of work.

4.     Nigeria is a signatory to the Paris Agreement since the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) and shall continue to contribute to the implementation of the initiative. Indeed, combating climate change is one of the cardinal objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in Nigeria. The administration’s commitment to fighting climate change is crystallized in the increasing and substantial budgetary allocations to this sector over the last two years.

5.     It is also noteworthy that even before the Paris Agreement of 2015, Nigeria has put in place various measures to tackle the challenges of climate change. For example, a roadmap was developed to exit gas flaring in the country by year 2020 and accelerated actions have been taken to reduce desertification through the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW). Machineries have also been put in place to tackle flooding and cleaning up of oil pollution in the Niger Delta region in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

6.     To show total commitment to the Paris Agreement, the Government has also taken major steps by putting in place huge investments in the development of infrastructures targeting Solar, Wind and Hydro as cleaner sources of energy.  In addition, a Sovereign National Green Bond (SNGB) aimed at raising special funds from the capital market that would be used for green projects especially renewable energy (solar), as well as afforestation projects that would help reduce emissions in line with National Determined Contributions (NDC) would soon be launched.

7.     We remain committed to the pursuit of an African continent built on security, inclusive growth and sustainable development through Africa’s Agenda 2063. Our challenge however, is how to attract the required resources to finance a recurring deficit national budget occasioned by the volatilities in the global oil market and insurgency especially in the North East of Nigeria.  In this light, the assistance of the international community will be very critical.

8.     On the situation of workers in the occupied Arab Territories, We note with concern the report of the Director-General on the diminishing prospects of finding lasting peace in the territory and its implication on the labor market as well as the economy and the attendant impoverishment of the Palestinian people especially women and children and the concomitant decent work deficit in the territory.

9.     However, we note that the Israeli authorities have embarked on some reforms for the reduction of the hardship and labour exploitation faced by innocent and hapless Palestinian workers.  We further note that there are better prospects for improved cooperation between Palestinian Trade Unions and Israeli Employers in and around the occupied territories.

10.    We therefore commend the Director-General for his efforts to find lasting solutions to the problem and pledge that as a responsible member of this international organization, we shall continue to give our support and contribute our quota towards finding permanent peace in the area.

11.    Chairperson, in conclusion, my delegation supports the five year cycle of recurrent discussion with focus on the decent work objectives, beginning with social dialogue at the 107th (2018) session of the ILC. We are in favour of an ILO development cooperation in terms of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly the arrangement to align the 2018 – 2019 programme on budget in this direction.

12.    Finally, the Government and people of Nigeria call for the upgrading of the ILO Office in Nigeria to a full Country Office as earlier requested to effectively serve the interest of the English speaking West African Countries.  This will indeed be a Centenary gift to Nigeria.

13.    I thank you all.