President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that the Federal Government and other employers will not lay off any worker without due process amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President, who was represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the assertion in a videoconference with labour leaders to commemorate May Day on Friday.
Buhari said, “I understand the anxiety which has plagued the minds of workers over the possibility of job losses due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and lockdown 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.
“Furthermore, I had earlier put in place a Presidential Economic Sustainability Committee with the objective of developing a credible sustainability plan for repositioning the Nigerian economy now and post-COVID-19 crisis period.”
The President noted that the committee was required to specifically explore ways and means of growing the non-oil sector in a bid to minimise the adverse effects of the current crisis.
He added that the PESC would also examine how to protect existing jobs and even create new jobs to help absorb the teeming army of the unemployed even before the crises.
Buhari expressed appreciation to medical doctors and other health workers, as well as their respective organisations, the Nigerian Medical Association and Joint Health Sector Unions.
He said, “These health workers are doing a great service 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. Great Nigerian Workers, your resilience 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.
“Observe all the health protocols as already established by the World Health Organisation, in terms of hygiene, wash your hands regularly, observe social distancing, and stay safe.”