Nigeria to engage telecom firms on contract staffing

By LAZ IBEABUCHI

Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu said that the Federal Government is set to engage stakeholders in the telecommunication sector over the issues of contract staffing and outsourcing.

Giving this assertion at  the 55th Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA on “Industrial Harmony as a Panacea for Sustainable Economic Development: Government’s Blueprint” in Lagos, the Minister said this is borne out of the relative success recorded in regulating and reducing the number of disputes on Contract Staffing/Outsourcing in the oil and gas sector.

He said, “Our plan is to identify and articulate similar consensus building in other sectors so that the economy can generate the required steam for development and growth. We are broadening the base of our consultation on policy options.”

Speaking on the large recurrent expenditure, Chief Wogu said that the N18000 minimum wage caused the increment in the 2012 fiscal year recurrent expenditure to 72 per cent.

Currently, the Federal Government wage bill is N1.66 trillion out of N2.7 trillion budgeted for recurrent expenditure in 2012 fiscal year; while the capital expenditure is N1.34 trillion. This shows that the government is spending more on wage bill which surpasses money appropriated for infrastructural development, in an economy that projects to be among 20 best economies in year 2020.

Chief Wogu said though the government is the highest employer of labour in the country, it has no plan to downsize because the President Jonathan’s transformation agenda places emphasize on employment creation.

The Minister however said the government is doing a lot to reduce the cost of governance. He said the government is not happy that capital budget is just about 28 per cent, adding that the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), chaired by General Theophilus  Danjuma, on the need for effective and optimal management of national resources, is being implemented.

On industrial harmony, he enjoined employers of labour to often abide by rule of law. “There are many cases where employers of labour failed to obey court orders on labour issues. If you say government should always obey the rule of law, then other social partners including employers of labour and labour unions must do same to bring about industrial harmony and better welfare for the Nigerian citizenries.”

Earlier in his remark, the President of NECA, Chief Richard Uche had said the casualty of industrial disharmony is the Nigerian economy.

He said, “The essence of rule of law in any society is to promote orderliness, civility and development, with our knowledge of past experience in promoting industrial harmony in Nigeria, the current dispensation is arguably the worst in the annals of industrial relations in the country.

“The current clime is characterized by flagrant disobedience of court order, spontaneous and illegal strike, vandalisation of company’s property in the name of strikes, disrespect for union jurisdictional scope (sympathy strike) disregard for grievance and trade dispute procedures, among others.”

He therefore called on the wholesale reform of the country’s Industrial Relations System that will protect the rights of all economic actors, (government, employers and labour) and promote productivity.

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