Nigeria has called for radical changes in the development programmes of the International Labour Organisation ((ILO) to enable it tackle the rising poverty and social disruptions in Africa.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said this on Thursday in Abuja while receiving a delegation of the France candidate for the office of the Secretary-General of ILO, Ms Muriel Penicaud.
Penicaud visited the country to seek Nigeria’s support for her candidature in the upcoming ILO general election.
According to Ngige, the current effort of the ILO in tackling development challenges in Africa is `a drop in the ocean’.
He therefore, urged a drastic intervention to mobilise donor agencies and institutions to get to the root of the prevailing social upheaval in Africa.
“There is a scourge of massive unemployment and under-employment. So far, the intervention of the ILO in this direction is like a drop of water in the ocean. We need ILO to assist mobilise global donors so that we can effectively tackle this.
“There is every need for the ILO to be on the ground. When you talk about child labour, it revolves around income. Low income makes families push out their children to the farms, to hawk in the streets.
“So, we are talking about poverty. The ILO is in the best position to assist developing countries like ours to create a system to reduce poverty.
According to him, developing countries’ social security system is poor and for the ILO to make meaningful intervention, it needs to align with other global agencies for impactful assistance.
“We need schools and hospitals in the areas that are prone to child labour and trafficking. The ILO can help bridge the gap; that is the only way to nip them in the bud,” he said.
Ngige also said though negative growth indices were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic Nigeria was leaving no stone unturned in the path of progress.
“Inequality has been made worse by COVID-19 scourge, which has displaced many working persons especially in the informal sector.
“As a government, we are battling to make up for the job losses and to cut poverty induced crimes.
“But as we do this we also face a great youth bulge that has led many of them into crimes. So the ILO needs a different approach than it currently does,” he said.
Earlier, Penicaud, said she was contesting to lead the ILO to bring about a new `tripartism of multi-country inclusion’ into the organisation.
Penicaud said that she wants to lead and bring the ILO closer to the people.
She said her experience over the years in the ILO had prepared her adequately for the job, with her focus also on mobilisation of social partners for social inclusion and protection against extreme poverty, child labour among others. nan.