- Buhari says he remains committed to workers’ welfare.
- Gives an account of his achievement in office.
President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that his administration remained committed to providing an enabling environment, higher productivity, industrial peace and harmony as well as a congenial atmosphere for effective collective bargaining amongst trade unions and employers.
Buhari, who was represented by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Wednesday during the 2019 May Day Parade on Wednesday at Eagle Square, Abuja.
Expressing his delight at the occasion president Buhari who noted that it coincided with the Centenary Celebration of the International Labour Organization (ILO) said the two events have far-reaching significance for Workers in particular and the World of Work in general.
“Another uniqueness of this Year’s Celebration is that the International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of its arrangement towards the celebration of its Centenary gave the member States the opportunity to select their ‘Country Themes’ in the spirit of its Centenary.
“It is in recognition of this, that our Country chose its theme for this Year’s May Day Celebration as ‘’Another 100 Years of Struggle for Jobs, Dignity and Social Justice in Nigeria.’’ You may recall that at the attainment of independence in 1959, we became a Member of the International Labour Organization (ILO).”
Speaking on the theme, the president pointed that it is a reflection of his administration’s collective commitment to job creation, protection of workers’ dignity and promoting social justice in the country as espoused in various provisions of the Constitution.
“Therefore, today’s event should provide us the opportunity to reflect on our fidelity to these great principles. Our Administration firmly committed to these principles. On assumption of office in 2015, in spite of the daunting economic challenges which confronted us at the time, we ensured that no worker was retrenched across the country. We further kept faith with this commitment by providing bailout funds for States unable to pay salaries and other benefits in order to pay accumulated arrears. We also had to release the Paris Club refunds owed since 2005 to make sure workers were not owed anything.”
Speaking on the achievement of his administration in the payment of outstanding benefits of retrenched Nigerian Airways workers owed for decades he said the Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), has paid arrears owed to parastatals and civil service pensioners covering 101,393 civil service pensioners on all grade level and 76,310 parastatals pensioners across 186 agencies.
“This is in addition to arrears paid to Pensioners in the Police and Customs services in 2016 and 2018. Our Administration also settled the issue of benefits of Nigerian armed forces and Paramilitary personnel who were dismissed and later pardoned for participating on the side of the recession in the course of the civil war 1967-1970. All of these veterans have now been paid their benefits.
“Our Social Investment Programme …the largest of its kind in Africa, is one directed at ensuring that we are able to provide opportunities in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy. Indeed the largest numbers of Nigerian workers are the informal workers.”
He, therefore, promised that his administration will remain committed to the cause of improving a lot of every working Nigerian and providing for those who cannot work.