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Insecurity: Nigerian elite in danger over unemployment – Ngige

Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment has called on Nigerians elite to address the unemployment in the country to curb the rising insecurity.

Ngige made the call yesterday while playing host to the leadership of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) in Abuja.

He warned that the elite must provide decent jobs or face severe consequences.

“Insecurity as you rightly pointed out is caused by people who feel cheated by society. They carry arms, weapons to vent their anger on the elites. So, the elites in Nigeria are in danger, including me, all of us.

Hence, the sooner we start talking to elites in employer organizations like yours (IPMAN), the better, the minister said. “So, we can curb this malady and prevent it from escalating.”

“When you refer to the nexus between job vulnerability and insecurity, you hit the nail on the head. A lot of insecurity problems we have today are caused by unemployment and underemployment.

“In underemployment, people are not making up to the national minimum wage or working up to eight hours a week which is the ILO standard for full employment. There is a lot of danger if we fail to effectively tackle this. But we are doing our best,” Ngige said.

Read also: Nigeria unemployment could hit 40% by year-end

The minister commended IPMAN for putting its house in order and for being thoughtful of the lots of workers in its employ through decent jobs and formalization.

“The good news here is that workers you seek to formalize are in the informal sector. You intend to do a micro pension for them and bring decency to their work. Of course, the ILO principles of decent work enjoin member states to do stage-by-stage formalization of the informal sector.

“But I must tell you that it is very difficult here because a lot of workers in our informal sector are not in unions. They are not unionized. IPMAN has therefore taken the bull by the horn.

“Here, we are talking of pump dispensers, cashiers, others doing mechanical work like vulcanizers, those doing wheel balancing and alignment among others. I, therefore, commend IPMAN for this good step forward,” he said.

The minister who reminded IPMAN that formalizing these workers comes with an attendant burden of compliance with the payment of the N30, 000 National Minimum Wage also called on all private school proprietors in the country to formalize the teachers in their employ and pay them a decent wage.

He said, “You must comply with the national minimum wage of N30, 000 for each of those persons dispensing fuel, those who are doing allied works there.”

The Minimum Wage Act gives several persons in an organization that draws such an organization into the Act. It is 25 or so. Any place where you have more than 25 persons, the Act says you must formalize. It is in your interest and in the interest of the workers too.”

In his speech, Chinedu Okonkwo, the national president of IPMAN, said their visit was to seek the collaboration of the Ministry of Labour in keying into the Federal Government’s Micro Pension Plan for millions of workers in its employ, hence the place of the National Pension Commission in the visit.

“We want to get the drivers, depot representatives and other ancillary workers enrolled into this scheme to add value to their welfare and enhance the status of their employment. If achieved, it will help the country curb insecurity, reduce restiveness through the creation of wealth and its reductive effect on poverty,” Okonkwo said.

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