Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, says plans are underway to revive the National Labour Advisory Council in order to ensure international best labour practices in the country.
Ngige who addressed newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, stressed that the resuscitation of the council was imperative in order to ensure International Labour Organisation (ILO) best practices in the country.
“The National Labour Advisory Council is a very important organ of the tripartite committee arrangement that we have in the labour management.
“The Council will help us to review the labour laws in the country and ensure international best practices.
“So this ministry under my leadership will make sure that we will revive the council.
He said part of the reason why the council was not performing optimally was due to lack of funds.
Ngige noted that the meeting of the advisory council cost between N7 million and N10 million.
He said that a tripartite committee meeting would be held to determine on how to revive the council and at an affordable cost too.
“The National Labour Advisory Council is important because it is the equivalent of the public hearing which they do at the National Assembly.
“So for us in the executive, the labour council serves as public hearing for the tripartite that is the employers, government and the unions that will have the opportunity to look at the laws.
“ These are laws that will be enforced and make us comfortable in our various places of work.”
Ngige said the revival of the council would afford the tripartite committee opportunity to fashion out ways to solve some problems like casualisation and contract staffing.
He noted that there are laws guiding casualisation and contract staffing, but these laws are being abused by employers.
“As long as we are here, we cannot permit indecent jobs and this ministry must protect Nigerians irrespective of where they come from.
“To that extent we are going to enforce the law and that is why we have to revive the Inspectorate Department and the Industrial Relations Department.
“They have to work together now and see how we can tackle and improve on this issue because a lot of companies are now into casualisation,’’ Ngige said.
The minister noted that many multi-national companies are getting contracts in Nigeria, but have no labour clause that protects the Nigerian workers.
“As I was told, most of such companies have used the opportunity to ship in their nationals to Nigeria thus depriving Nigerians of gainful employment.
“It is very unfortunate that it is Nigerians who are breaking the laws; it is not those who are coming from outside the country who are breaking the law.
“Nigerians break the laws at the point of entry, Nigerians break the law when these people are inside the country that is why the expatriate quotas is full of flaws.
“The Ministry of Labour will discuss with the Interior Ministry to look at the expatriate quota laws to ensure total compliance,’’ ’ he said.