The Federal Government has said that the nation’s policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis were tailored to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) four-pillar policy framework for tackling the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, stated this while delivering Nigeria’s response to the Report of the Director-General of ILO and Chairperson of the Governing Body, Guy Ryder, at the 109th Session (virtual) of the International Labour Conference, holding in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ngige noted that it was in line with those four pillars, as was reported during the ILO Global Summit mid-last year, that the Federal Government directed the establishment of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) “to coordinate with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Subnational Governments to implement the COVID-19 protocols nationwide.”
The Federal Government also established the “Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee (PESC) to develop a credible plan to reposition the Nigerian economy post COVID-19 crisis.”
According to Ngige, the PESC, of which the Labour Minister is a member, put in place several policy frameworks to tackle emerging issues of the time.
He added that those policy frameworks include COVID-19 Recovery Programme for the country, which cut across various sectors as Health, Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Humanitarian and Disaster Control.
Ngige listed the Recovery programmes to include N50 billion targeted credit facility to support Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs); N260 Billion MSMEs Survival Fund to sustain at least 500,000 jobs in 50,000 MSMEs, and Entrepreur Support Programme to support MSMEs.
The programmes also include, but not limited to, the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the N-Power programme, an ad-hoc youth empowerment scheme, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan and grants to farmers, as well as palliatives and various short-term and medium term schemes for the vulnerable groups.
He stated that Government has upgraded and established health facilities, and has been in discussions with workers in the Health sector to increase their hazard allowance and extend their retirement age, among other programmes.
The Minister also pledged the support of Nigeria to the call by “the WTO for waiver on intellectual property right to enable mass production of the (COVID-19) vaccine for our greater good, as no one is safe until everybody is safe.”
He disclosed that as at May 2021, “a total of 1,927.141 Nigerians had got their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and the number is on a daily increase, as more awareness are created and fallacies debunked.”
The Minister stated that Nigeria welcomed the Report of the Director-General on the theme: “Work in the Time of COVID”.