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Minister cuts down travel expenses for Labour Ministry

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige  has directed an immediate minimization of Duty Tour Allowance in the ministry and agencies under it.  This is in line with the determination of the Federal Government to eliminate waste and maximize the use of scarce resources. With the new directive, no officer including the Minister, Minister of state and the Permanent Secretary will be allowed to stay out of station for more than one night. 

According to a statement signed by the Deputy Director Press in the Ministry, any officer, whose job is taken out of station for more than a night therefore, is expected to get the approval of the Permanent Secretary.

This shall not exceed a maximum of two days. Any other stay that lasts for more than two days because of the peculiar nature of the duty shall be with the express approval of the Honourable Minister.

This will apply for both local and international travels. Of course, no officer will travel abroad without the explicit approval of the Minister, even if the cooperation partners or donor agencies are sponsoring such.  These are cost saving measures, which will also enhance productivity, and we are all expected to abide by it.   The days where we stay for as long as possible to accumulate allowances for ourselves are now over,” it said. The minister, who stated this while addressing the management team of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in his office, said there was the need for the Ministry and its agencies to key into the new development objectives of the federal government in streamlining its agencies as well as operations for efficiency and maximum output.

Dr Ngige, while urging civil servants to tap into the numerous advantages, which information and communication technology offers in the efficient running of a modern government, argued that “e-governance was now the trend.” 

“New technology has effectively shut down the number of times we ought to be on the road. The State Director of an agency doesn’t need to travel to Abuja to brief his Director General. He can adequately communicate from his base and still deliver the goals,” the inister said.

Social safety nets

The NDE has also been directed to capture in its 2016 Work plan, Social Safety Nets in job creation and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) as contained in the manifesto of the APC in order to alleviate the sufferings of the people.

The Minister of Labour, Dr Ngige   further charged the agency to look inwards and seek out creative measures to boost and market its  targets and objectives.

“We must tell ourselves the truth. We inherited a seriously stressed economy. We can’t therefore continue with the old ways. We need to sit up and invent new measures to buoy up the agency as a capable instrument of job creation, far away from the near-sleeping institution it is at the moment. Government can’t create all the jobs for the people but the NDE where it is ingenious, will create numerous opportunities for our people to catch fish for themselves,” Ngige said.

Challenges

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to urgently address the challenges faced by the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) which has resulted to its inability to meet over the years.

The Congress stated this in a congratulatory message to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr.Chris Ngige signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba. According to the Congress, the NLAC is a tripartite body comprising of representatives of the Federal and State Governments, Employers and Labour Organisations with the primary responsibility of advising the Federal Government on industrial and labour relations. “The meeting of the Council will assist in addressing most of the developmental issues in Labour Administration in the country.”

Comrade Wabba further stated that the appointment of Dr. Chris Ngige as the Minister of labour and Employment was coming at a time of many challenges in the country adding that the Labour and Employment Ministry being the one under which industrial relations matters are coordinated have special role to play in ensuring industrial peace and harmony in the country. The Congress expressed concern over the prevalent cases of casualisation and outsourcing which it said a number of employers had resorted to as a means of cutting costs of human resources and maximization of profits. The NLC also stressed the need to get the ministry’s Factory Inspectorate Division, sufficiently equipped and function optimally.