President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerian workers both in public and private sectors that none of them will be sacked as a result of the economic crisis brought about by coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in some states.
“I understand the anxiety which has plagued the minds of workers over the possibility of job losses due to economic downturn caused by the pandemic and lock-down, especially in the private sector. In this regard, the Government will ensure that no employer would retrench or lay off workers without going through due process of social dialogue which includes consultations with workers and with the Competent Authority – Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.”
These were contained in his May 1 Workers’ Day address to the workers, which was observed today, May 1.
President Buhari said that the Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), which he put up recently was charged with developing a credible sustainability plan for repositioning the Nigerian economy now and post Covid-19 crisis period.
“The ESC is required to specifically explore ways and means of growing our non-oil sector – all in a bid to minimise the adverse effects of the current crisis and to also protect existing jobs and even create new jobs to help absorb the teeming army of the unemployed even before the crises.
In his speech read by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, the President regretted that this year’s May – May is being celebrated in an unusual low-key because “we are fighting an invisible enemy to humanity termed Covid-19 pandemic.
“In a bid to win this war, we set up a Presidential Task Force (PTF) made up of the relevant sector Ministers and highly skilled Health Technical Experts The government had to in a well-designed Expert Advice, lock down some States of the Federation where this pandemic is most prevalent – the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Ogun and Lagos States. Lagos State was and still is the EPICENTRE of the disease and of late Kano had to follow because of the new eruptions of Covid-19 in the State.
“Offices, businesses, and various forms of out-door activities have been put in abeyance so that “WE” as opposed to “I” factor may prevail so that we may live for tomorrow. Yes, it is a common problem and interest and it is at this time that we must be our brother’s keeper by ensuring that “I protect myself and protect others from me”. I, therefore, ask Nigerian Workers both in the Public and Private Sectors with her FORMAL and INFORMAL ECONOMY to bear the stringent measures for a while for our common good. This would enable us put the ravaging pandemic under control and restore normalcy within the confines of relevant guidelines issued by health experts and the Government for safety against Covid-19 in order to curtail its spread.”
President Buhari acknowledged that it is not easy, stressing that nations across the world are in a state of war against this pandemic “and in a war situation, survival is paramount.
“Though the lock-down had been partially lifted in States aforementioned, except Kano State, workers are enjoined to observe subsequent rules and regulations issued to ensure the safety of all Nigerian citizens.” The President expressed appreciation to Medical Doctors and Healthcare Workers as well as their respective organisations, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) for a great service they are rendering for humanity.
“I thank you all. I have directed that requisite incentives and hazard allowances enhancement and insurance for lives should be taken at these perilous times in favor of our Health Sector workers as a way of showing our appreciation. Also, personal protective equipment for their safety is also guaranteed.”
Buhari also expressed gratitude to Nigerian Workers, whose resilience he said in times of adversity, is not questionable.
“I appreciate you all and I know that with collective will and sense of responsibility, as a team, we shall triumph as a nation.”