Ukpono Ukpong – Abuja
Nigeria has urged Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to employ commitment and political will in the implementation of labour policies and programmes in the sub-region.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, made the call at the Meeting of Ministers in Charge of Labour and Employment in the ECOWAS sub-region, in Abuja.
He noted that the sub-region needed renewed commitment and passion to drive the tenets of Decent Work and other labour policies.
According to him, “We cannot continue to be paying lip service to issues of labour administration in the sub-region.
The time has come for us to make a radical departure from the past if we are to bequeath onto future generation an ECOWAS sub-region that prides itself in the attainment of the tenets of decent work.”
He hoped that the Meeting would approve all the proposals presented by the General Assembly, and then go back home to transform them into programmes of action to deepen decent work in the sub-region.
The Meeting of Labour Experts/General Assembly of ECOWAS Social Dialogue Forum, which held from 16th – 18th July in Abuja was convened to review, validate and adopt key policy texts on labour and employment; build consensus on topical issues, amongst others.
The Permanent Secretary pledged the continued support of Nigeria to the ECOWAS Commission in its determination in addressing knotty employment and labour issues in the sub-region.
In an address, the Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission, Dr Siga Fatima Jagne, said the Meeting was for Labour experts to submit their priorities and recommendations for the attention of the Ministers of Labour and Employment.
She stated that the Social Dialogue Forum, which preceded the Ministers’ Meeting, had deliberated, revised, validated and adopted the Directive on Minimum Standards towards Harmonization of Labour Laws in the ECOWAS Region, and ECOWAS Regional Program for Decent Work (DWRP).
”The two documents will be the key frameworks that ECOWAS and Member States can apply to achieve the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work adopted by the Conference at the 108th Session held in June, 2019;
and will specifically address the challenges to shape a fair, inclusive and secure future of work with full, productive and freely chosen employment and decent work for all”, she said.
She urged the Ministers to adopt the text that would be presented to them and all the recommendations therein to enable the ECOWAS Commission put in place regional mechanisms to facilitate and enhance the social integration of citizens in the Community
and create conditions for decent and regulated jobs at Member States’ level without xenophobia and other forms of discrimination.
In an opening remark, the Minister of Labour and Employment of Niger Republic, Mohammed Bil Omar, stated that the recommendations of the General Assembly Meeting would strengthen social dialogue in the sub-region.
Speaking, Regional Director of ILO, Dennis Zulu, urged the Ministers of Labour and Employment in ECOWAS region to ensure that decent work was guaranteed for citizens of the sub-region.