The President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has said that government had taken bold steps which are deliberately tailored towards growing the economy with corresponding increase in people’s welfare and job creation.
President Jonathan who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo at this Year’s Workers’ Day today at the Eagle Square , Abuja , reiterated that his administration places emphasis on alleviating the socio-economic problems that have bedevilled the country with a view to improving the living standards of the Nigerian workers.
He said he is “committed to tackling our developmental challenges, by among other things, laying a solid foundation for sustainable poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation, value re-orientation and steady power supply.”
Dr Jonathan reminded the workers of the commitment he made on the 2010 May-Day, to ensure then that the forthcoming elections become the reference point for free, fair and credible elections in Africa ; to also ensure the demand for relativity in pay in the Civil Service and new minimum wage for Nigerian workers are addressed. He said all those promises have been addressed and has also signed into law the Employee Compensation Act with provisions for an open and fair system of guaranteed and adequate compensation for workers.
He disclosed that in order to provide jobs, the sum of fifty billion naira (N50 billion) has been provided for job creation in the 2011 budget, nothing that appropriate public policy framework to implement the National Action Plan on Employment Creation (NAPEC) is to be adopted as a strategic National working document and incorporated into the Development Plans.
While urging the Labour Movement to accept responsibilities along with government in its on-going efforts toward consolidating democracy in the country, Jonathan said “providence has bestowed on Nigeria all it takes ( human and material resources) to make her the real giant of Africa and to make enormous contributions, regionally and globally”. He said this can be possible if its immense potential waiting to the unleashed and talents to be tapped are being harnessed as well as empowering the people through creation of opportunities for employment and wealth creation.
In his remark, the Nigerian Labour Congress President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, expressed his appreciation to President Jonathan, saying his “participation in the May 2010 Workers Day and the import of his speech led to some remarkable changes, if not a leap forward in the conditions of workers and our electoral process”. He congratulated him “for emerging victorious in the last presidential elections through the clear mandate of a majority of the Nigerian people”. He commended the commitment, courage and integrity of INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega who has lived up to the expectations of many Nigerians and the international community.
He however, among others, urged government to tackle the issues of unemployment, cost of electricity tariff, high cost of governance, corruption and implementation of the new minimum wage which has been signed into law. Others who spoke at the occasion were the Ministers of Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed; Labour, Productivity and Interior, Emeka Wogu and President General of Trade Union Congress of Nigerian, Comrade Peter Esele.