The Federal Executive Council has approved a new national policy on occupational safety and health, tagged: “National Policy on Occupational Safety 2020.”
Minister of Labour and employment, Chris Ngige disclosed this while briefing correspondents on the memo he Presented to FEC on Wednesday.
He explained that the new policy is aimed at ensuring that all workers are safe at their work places across the country, adding that it derives from provisions of the Nigerian constitution and the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention.
Ngige added: “The Federal executive Council today approved a new policy on occupational safety and health-2020. This policy is designed to make for safety and health of workers at work places.
“It derives from the main ground norm law of the 1999 constitution as amended, which in section 17 (3c) prescribes that the Nigerian State shall make laws and bye-laws for preservation of the health and well-being of workers in the work places; men and women at work.
“It also derives form the ILO convention 155, which Nigeria has also domesticated. Again, that talks about making the work place conducive and ensuring the health and well-being of workers.”
The Minister said the last time the policy was reviewed was 14 years ago but the new one has a review period of three years.
Continuing, he said: “It gives specific roles to agencies, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA,) Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA,) Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“Everybody has his own role now because it’s a cross-cutting situation as most Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government are involved.”
On the seven-day ultimatum given by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) threatening strike action, the Minister maintained that it is misplaced because it was addressed to the President of Nigerian, which he said, contravenes labour laws.
He said: “The TUC issue, the seven-day ultimatum was misplaced because they were writing the President and issuing ultimatum to him.
“The President is not recognised by ILO. The competent authority for this nature of dispute in Nigeria resides in the man who oversees them, which is whoever is the Minister of Labour and Employment.”
In her remark, Minster of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said from the last report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Nigerian economy better than expected.
She said measures are being put in place to stabilize the economy and ensure that it continues to run despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “We presented a memo to council in respect of the second quarter GDP report, earlier released by the National Bureau of Statistics on the 24th of August.
“Why the memo is so dated is because there was a retreat last week and we couldn’t get scheduled as well. Still for us, the information is important and topical.
“The GDP report shows that the economy went into negative growth of -6.10% in the second quarter but that the aggregate performance for half year 2020 is -2.1%. This performance of -6.10% is a good performance in the sense that it is better than what we have projected second quarter performance to be at -7.2%.
“This performance also is a good performance because it outperformed the projections that had been done by the Brentwood institutions. But it also outperformed very developed economies of the world and also economies that are comparable to us.
“The US for example went into negative growth of 33% for the second quarter 2020 and 19% half year 2020. Similarly, the UK, Canada, Italy and several countries of the world all went into very significant negative growth.
“So, Nigeria’s economy has shown some level of resilience in this level of performance.
“We also reported to council that even though out of the 46 sectors of the economy, 30 of these sectors showed negative growth, but there were still some sectors that were growing on the positive territory.
“These sectors include agriculture as well as financial services and the ICT services. This is actually showing that even during the COVID era, there were still some sectors that stood firm and indeed were growing.
“The inflation was also reported to be movi9ng up gradually, capital importation did not dry up despite the lockdowns and the difficulties all countries experienced. But this is reflected by the significant decline in capital importation into the country.
“Exchange rate has moved up from $326 at the beginning of the quarter to $367. Again this is reflecting some of the policies that government had to take to ensure that the economy remain in a stable condition.