It is a new dawn in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the appointment of the new Minister of State for Labour and Employment is a welcome development, long anticipated and a dream come true for the management and staff of the ministry and especially for the people of kogi state.
The new Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Prof. Stephen Ocheni is a renown academia, a professor of Public Sector Accounting. He started his career in Idah secondary commercial college where he obtained Division 1 in the West African school certificate (WASC) then preceeded to federal Polytechnic Idah, where he studied accounting for 4 years and at the completion of his NYSC, he was retained as a lecturer in the same department.
He then proceeded to the Enugu state University of Science & Technology where he obtained MSc in Finance and Banking and there after obtained his doctorate degree in Financial Management from the Prestigious University of Nigeria (UNN) Nsukka
Prof. Stephen Ocheni also served in the State and Federal Civil Service for several Years before returning to the academia in 2013 where he was, until his political appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He is also a Fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, a Fellow of the Chattered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, a Fellow of Chattered Institute of Economists of Nigeria, a Fellow of Chattered Institute of Public administration of Nigeria and as part of his contribution to knowledge, he has written six academic textbooks and published Forty four international journal articles.
Indisputably, from his background, the Minister is greatly endowed and has distinguished himself through his service to humanity. This seasoned administrator and a Professor of public Sector Accounting is determined to bring to bear his wealth of knowledge and experience to the Labour sector and has also pledged to contribute his best to justify the confidence reposed in him by this administration.
In an interview with journalists recently Prof. Ocheni revealed his proposed agenda for the Ministry and is determined to use his Professional prowess as an accountant and an administrator to effect a positive change in the area of training, Budgeting and a total overhaul of the Labour and Employment Ministry.
The Ministry intends to strengthen capacity training of the staff through the Human Resource Department and ensure that the Labour Institute under the Ministry of Labour and Employment is further strengthened to offer programme and award certificate that goes beyond the Labour Ministry, this Institute can collaborate with other Government Agencies that have the authority to accredit programmes run by the Institution when their requirements are met.
The Institute can then aspire to award diploma certificates that are equivalent to the ones awarded by polytechnics, colleges of technology in the country. When this is achieved, the Ministry at the same time is producing graduates that are acceptable to other sectors of the economy, there will be seminars and workshops that can improve on employee productivity.
The programmes will be designed in such a way that will enable the staff to apply their knowledge of public service rule, set target for themselves daily and also as much as possible embrace the private sector orientation. If the Ministry must achieve the goal of the economic recovery and growth plan of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which ministries main target, for this to be achieved, we must all work hand in hand and by so doing, we are contributing to the Productivity and gross domestic product of this country.
Bearing in mind the important place the Ministry of Labour and Employment occupies in ensuring industrial harmony in the Nation, The Ministry seek for a collective co-operation from all the departments and Unit in ensuring that it improves on the budgetary allocation, this could be achieved by each department and Unit sending their proposals and Input to the following three major stages of budgetary process
· The preparatory stage
· The Approval Stage
· The Implementation Stage
Budgeting is one of his key area, as a Professor of Public Sector Accounting and if we must attain a particular height in our budgetary allocation, then we must all be ready to participate in the process. Budget is a financial plan designed in anticipation of an activity to be undertaken in the subsequent year. Just like in a family setting, if you have everything you need to run your family, then you don’t need a budget. But no Government, Institution or Individual has all it takes all over the World and that is why the budget idea
You have to identify your priority out of the scarce resources. It is conventional and natural to draw a budget to accommodate your key needs within the limits of your projected year.
In Nigerian budgeting for instance, Security, Health care, Agriculture, Labour and so on are priorities. The shortfall in the budgetary allocation is not peculiar to this Ministry alone; the reasons are very obvious, which is the economy of the Nation, experiencing Revenue decline compared to 10 previous years.
As a professor of Accounting, the ministry is ready to step up effort towards ensuring that the Ministry of Labour and Employment meet up with the deadlines of the presentation of its budget, articulate our needs and work very hard to ensure implementation and improvement of our budget. But as much as we want to improve the budget of the ministry, we must also identify with the realities of our time, ensuring that projects are priorities to Government and must be key towards the attainment of government goal under the economy recovery and growth plan of this administration.
The Ministry will vigorously pursue to enhance the productivity of the employee by improving their welfare and make room for a conducive work environment, Every Ministry has a mandate given to it, The Ministry of Labour and Employment is playing its traditional role to ensure that it interfaces between employer and employee.
The Ministry tries to ensure that the Agencies that are responsible for employment, undertake this project seriously. But at the same time, the unemployed graduates should not focus themselves totally on Government Employment. They must be encouraged to embark on skills acquisition, so that they can also become employers of Labour and by so doing help to reduce unemployment and as well contribute to the development of the private sector and at the same time improve the productivity and gross domestic product (GDP) of our country.
It is obvious that professor Ocheni is resolute to bring his Professional and intellectual capacity to uplifting the Agencies, Institutions in the Ministry of Labour and in the Labour Circle at large. And for this to be achieved, we must all rise to work in tandem to ensure its implementation, bearing in mind the important place the Ministry of Labour and Employment occupies in ensuring industrial harmony in the Nation.
Federal Ministry Of Labour and Employment