The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige Thursday in Abuja solicited the assistance of the National Assembly for an increase in the budgetary allocation of the ministry to meet its administrative needs.
The minister made the appeal while presenting the 2020 budget proposals of the Ministry before the joint National Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity.
According to Ngige, the meager allocation to the ministry over the years was due to the fact that most of the activities of the ministry were regarded as ‘intangible’.
“We are not building roads, bridges, airports but we are assisting the country to maintain a good social milieu that will make for the security of everybody. If we are allowed to perform our role by adequate funding, we will pursue job creation”
“like in pursuing job creation, the Federal Executive Council has instructed that any memo that comes to Council without saying the quantum of jobs that will be created directly or indirectly, that memo will not fly’’ he said
Presenting the breakdown of the 2020 budget proposal of the Ministry before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. William Alo gave the breakdown as follows:
N4,260,587,567.71k submitted as capital cost to the Budget office, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the sum of N2,881,052,588.89k was approved to the ministry for 2020 Capital Projects and Programmes leaving a deficit of N1,379,534,978.82k.
According to Mr Alo, the sum of N693,587,740.00k was submitted and approved by the Budget Office, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as overhead cost budget in line with the mandate in the call circular that all MDAs should maintain 2019 overhead budget ceiling.
The permanent secretary also said that while the sum of N3,792,267,859.00 was submitted to the Budget office, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as personnel budget, only a meager sum of N3,485,035,205.92k was approved to the Ministry from January 2019 to December 2020, leaving yet another deficit of N307,232,653.08K.
While responding, Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu said that the core responsibility of the Committee was to conduct oversight over all Labour related matters.
“Working with the various stakeholders in the Labour Industry will enable the committee to intensify its effort in creating, sustaining and promoting peaceful industrial relations thus enhancing productivity and skills, safe and decent working environment as well as universal social coverage in the country” the committee Chairman said
The Committee commended the selfless sacrifices of the Honourable Minister in averting the Industrial action called by organized Labour through his swift and skillful negotiation and conclusion of the consequential adjustment of the National Minimum Wage.