The Federal Government has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions in tertiary institutions who are currently on strike to embrace dialogue.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, made the appeal during the 2022 International Workers Day celebration on Sunday in Abuja with the theme, `Labour, Politics and the Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ASUU and other unions in the Education sector had embarked on a nationwide warning strike to press home their members’ demands.
The lecturers’ demands included funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, and University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), among others.
Osinbajo said that the federal government was not unmindful of the ongoing strike in public universities and also the anxieties of students and their parents and the thoughts of uncertain future.
“We are not unmindful of the anxieties of our children and their parents who are plagued by thoughts of an uncertain future as they stay home because their universities have been shut by an industrial action.
“I appeal to ASUU and the broader labour community to seek the path of dialogue,’’ he said.
The vice president, however, noted that disagreement and debate have always been part of the relationship between labour and the government.
He added that, even as we disagree today, we must not do so as mortal adversaries but as members of the same progressive family.
According to him, we both want the same thing – a country that works for all and offers each citizen a fair deal – even if occasionally we differ on how to achieve this goal.
“But at all times, we have through dialogue found a path forward. It in this spirit that I call on ASUU to embrace dialogue with the Government.
“I call on the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to help facilitate a resolution of this dispute through dialogue,’’ he said.
Osinbajo added, “I believe that we can find a path forward in good faith. And this is what we will do.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, also urged organised Labour to continue to eliminate actions inimical to the quest for good governance and development in the country.
Ngige appealed to labour to embrace acclaimed institutions of consensus building in times of differing opinions, rather than debilitating actions that lead to complications.
He said such complications include loss of mandays and decreased productivity that threaten the existence of the enterprise and result in job losses.
He, however, frowned at the situation where strikes are always the first option considered by the unions in pressing home their demands.
The minister noted that the rights emanating from employment relationship are reciprocal, adding that government in addition to being the “competent authority‘’ in tripartism, is also an employer,’’ he said. (
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has nominated the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige for its meritorious service award in the health sector.
The nomination was contained in a letter to the Minister and signed by the President of the NMA, Prof Innocent Ujah and the Secretary General, Dr Philip Ekpe.
The award letter was made available to newsmen by Ngige media office on Saturday in Abuja.
The letter was titled, “Invitation as an awardee at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).”
According to it, we write on behalf of the National Officers Committee (NOC) and the entire membership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), to invite you to the Annual General Meeting (ADM) of the association as an awardee.
”The conference which has its theme “Current Emergencies in building a resilient health system for Nigeria: Situation Analysis and Solutions” is scheduled to hold from May 15 to May 22, 2022 at EUI Centre, Plot F11, Sanni Abacha Road, GRA Phase 3, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
“We have the pleasure to inform you of your nomination for recognition for Meritorious Service Award in the health sector by the Association.”
The letter added that the award would be bestowed on Ngige during the opening ceremony scheduled for May 19, by 10a.m.
Meanwhile, Ngige who is also a medical professional, has accepted the nomination.
The minister commended NMA for finding him worthy for such recognition.
Ngige said that the award showed that his efforts towards the development of the health sector and other good works in Nigeria had not gone unnoticed.
He added that the award would definitely spur him to do more towards the upliftment of the health sector and the development of Nigeria.
The Tinubu Support Group (TSG) on Friday in Abuja, said there was no opposition that could prevent Sen. Bola Tinubu presidency from emerging in 2023.
The group also said that it only recognised Sen. Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader as the only presidential aspirant in the 2023 presidential race.
Mr James Faleke, House of Representatives member representing Ikeja Federal constituency, said this when he led members of the group to pick up the APC Expression of interest and Nomination forms for Tinubu in Abuja
“We are here as a team on behalf of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to pick up the forms that he had personally paid for, because he is out of the country.
“He paid for his forms directly and asked us to come and pick up the forms, he is the only contestant we know,” Faleke said.
He added that whatever mode of primary the party decided to come up with, Tinubu would emerge as the APC 2023 presidential candidate.
“It is the party that has the authority to advocate for the mode of primaries. It is not in our purview to do that, whatever mode, direct or indirect, we will win the election by the grace of God,” he said.
He added that Tinubu at the appropriate time would deliver his address to the nation, saying that the country would be better under a Tinubu presidency.
“ This country under Tinubu will be better off, economy will be better off because he is an economist, not a lawyer.
“He will deal with the economic situation of this country as he did in Lagos State when he was the governor.
“The security challenges in Lagos State was solved by Tinubu, he will solve the country’s security challenges.
”He is a man who rewards loyalty and ensures that people who work are also taken care of.
“He will ensure that employment opportunities are better off, the issue of strike will be a thing of the past,” Faleke said.
Also speaking, Mr Babachir Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) said Tinubu was a branded product, adding that every Nigerian knew that he was the man to beat.
He assured that Tinubu would emerge as the country`s next president come May 29th, 2023.
“If we were not sure we have chances to win this election, we would not waste our N100 million.
“Everybody is free to buy the forms if he has N100 million, the choice is his.
“But as far as we are concerned, we are only fulfilling the constitutional requirement of campaigning and going for election. We don’t foresee any opposition in the contest.
“We are not worried in our camp, I am not worried as a person,” the former SGF said.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that some of those in the 2023 presidential race in the APC include Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, and Sen. Rochas Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo.
Also in the race are; Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajuba, Minister of State for Education and Gov. David Umuahi of Ebonyi among others.
By Emmanuel Mogbede
Abuja, April, 27, 2023 Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Wednesday in Abuja, picked the All Progressives Congress (APC) Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for its ticket to vie for the 2023 presidential election.
Bello who was the first aspirant to pay the N100 million fees for the forms, told newsmen shortly after picking up the forms at the APC national secretariat, that if elected as the country’s next president in 2023, he would restore the hope of Nigerians.
He, however, re-emphasised that he was not intimidated by the big names in the 2023 presidential race.
On the recent calls by some groups and even governors on former President Goodluck Jonathan to be adopted as APC consensus candidate, Bello said that was the beauty of democracy.
The Kogi governor while saying he was not threatened by the calls, said in democracy, people were allowed to support their preferred aspirants.
“That is the beauty of democracy, in democracy, anybody can support anyone, but I am assuring you that our great party, the APC is a party that has its own ethics, rules and regulations.
“I know surely that all of these are in my favour and I am not in any way scared of the pedigree of anyone whatsoever.
“I am confident that I am in the majority, I have the women, I have the youths, I have the people living with disabilities and they are all behind me. I have leaders, I have followers and above all, I have God almighty,” he said.
Bello said if elected as the country’s next president in 2023, he would restore hope in Nigerians.
He said he was coming to restore hope to the entire Nigeria, the entire black race across the world, and Africa as a continent.
“That is the hope we are bringing on board to unite, to secure, and to put our country and her people on the path of progress and prosperity.
“We give glory to God almighty the creator of the universe who has created today and made today a reality.
“Today I have with me my expression of interest and nomination forms to contest as the presidential flag bearer of this great party, the APC.
“Right now, what we have ahead of us is the task of canvassing and consulting all party faithful, leaders, stalwarts, members and all Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora.
“Give us your support to emerge as the flag-bearer of this great party come May 30 and 31, and by the grace of God, I shall become victorious and the party shall become victorious,” he said.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Director-General, `Hope ‘23 Yahaya Bello Campaign Organisation’’ said Bello demonstrated sincerity of purpose by being the first aspirant to pay for the forms.
She said Bello’s action was a demonstration that the young people were ready to take over the country’s leadership.
“This is a historic moment, a great milestone in the history of our country.
“Finally, the young people of Nigeria are taking responsibility, demonstrating that we can lead this country to a brighter future.
“Because we want to demonstrate our sincerity of purpose, our belief is that this is the destiny that God wants for Nigeria and we will do everything in our power to bring it to pass.
“So we are looking forward for the support of delegates of the APC; we are also looking forward to the support of Nigerians when we get to the presidential campaign.
“God willing, 2023, we will be welcoming President Yahaya Bello to Aso Rock. Congratulations to all Nigerians,” Abiola-Costello said.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that some of those in the 2023 presidential race in the APC include; Sen. Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, and Mr Rochas Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo.
Also in the race are; Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivty, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajuba, Minister of State for Education and Gov. David Umuahi of Ebonyi among others. (
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has blamed the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for prolonging the industrial strike in the country.
The minister said the union had made negotiation difficult for both parties.
Ngige disclosed this in a statement issued by Patience Onuobia, Acting Head of Press and Public Relation in the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister was reacting to the insinuations that he was responsible for the ongoing action by the union.
Ngige however, said he had done what many could not do to forestall strikes by ASUU.
According to him, negotiation now is being made impossible by ASUU.
“For example, ASUU insists that National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) should take the payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) that it developed.
“That they should deploy it for payment in the university whether it is good or bad, whether it failed integrity and vulnerability test or not .
“ASUU members know that fraud committed on payment platforms can run into billions. If a hacker adds zeros to hundreds, it becomes billions, ’’he said.
Ngige noted that NITDA brought out the report of its test on UTAS, noting that it passed the user acceptability but failed vulnerability and integrity tests that were the two critical tests that prevented fraud.
“As a conciliator, I spoke to ASUU and NITDA to continue the test and see whether they could make up the lapses and arrive at 100 per cent because that is what NITDA insists on.
According to him, NITDA said they cannot even take the platform at 99.9 per cent of vulnerability and integrity. That they can’t take that risk on a payment system, that it can be hacked into.
“These are the issues. So if you hear someone saying Ngige is responsible, it is wrong. I’m not the one that implements. I’m the conciliator.
“I conciliate, so that there will be no more warfare and even in conciliation, once I apprehend, the parties go back to status quo ante- which means, you call off the strike .
“ASUU should have by now called off the strike because that’s what the law says.
“I have earlier, while we convened the National Labour Advisory Council in Lagos last month, urged the NLC to which ASUU is affiliated, to intervene in this respect,” Ngige said.
He also revealed that Prof. Nimi Briggs Committee on Renegotiation of 2009 Agreement which ASUU shunned despite several appeals to them had rounded off its assignment and submitted to the Ministry of Education.
He added that, “we will follow it from there. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel,”.
The minister however, noted that he had successfully conciliated 1,683 industrial disputes since assumption of office in 2015.
He said that the role of the Minister of Labour was to conciliate disputes and did not include the implementation of agreements reached with parties.
“However, when conciliation fails, the Minister is under obligation by section 9 and 14 of Trade Disputes Act, Cap T8 , Laws of the Federation of Nigeria to transmit the results of the negotiation to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) or to National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
“In the ongoing ASUU imbroglio, I’m the conciliator. I bring them to negotiate with their employers.
“That is the Ministry of Education and the National University Commission as well as IPPIS, the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, all under the Ministry of Finance.
“At the end of every negotiation, we put down what everybody has agreed on in writing and add timelines for implementation,” he said.
The Minister also noted that ASUU strike had been a recurrent decimal in the last 20 years, adding that they had gone on strike, 16 times. So, there is nothing new as such.
“What is new however is that I have done what Napoleon could not do,’’ he said.
Ngige, in another development, mourned the death of former Minister of Labour, Graham Douglas.
He described the late Douglas as a “quintessential politician” who excelled in labour administration at the incipient era of this democratic dispensation.
Ngige added that Nigeria has lost a patriot.
“Graham Douglas will be remembered for effectively managing labour between 1999 and 2000, a very difficult period for the tripartite community, having just emerged from long military dictatorship,’’ he said .
He prayed God Almighty to comfort his family and grant him eternal rest.
Editted by AbdulFatai Atuonwu
Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has joined the race for the presidential seat.His media office stated on Sunday that the minister had been consulting stakeholders in his All Progressives Congress (APC) party as well as stalwarts of opposition political parties.He is scheduled to publicly declare his intention on April 19, the media office stated.It added that Ngige gave his explanation for consulting opposition political parties when he addressed his supporters at Amansea, a border town with Enugu State after visiting Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.The media office stated also that Ngige’s standpoint was informed by his belief that his aspiration had a cross-party appeal.“I visited Enugu State governor as part of my nation-wide consultation. Even though he is in PDP, he is an Igbo man.“He is a very realistic, discerning person. Don’t forget also that Enugu is the capital of the former Eastern Region. And you know that respect is reciprocal.“Over the week, I also consulted some other Nigerians not allied to any political party. Therefore, I had to consult the Enugu State governor over my intention to contest and to seek his views too.“He told me to kick the ball into the net.“So this journey is not for APC members alone. Our brothers in PDP easily agreed that I tower above some of the persons aspiring to the position in their party.“I have no fear whatsoever. I am equal to the task. Even our brothers in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) will join us in the task ahead,’’ Ngige was quoted as saying.The minister said also that his antecedents, stewardship as a civil servant, governor, senator, and minister stood him apart.“What we did in Anambra in 34 months, those who did eight years have not done them.“I did 34 months during which I laid the foundation for the new Anambra. I didn’t just lay the foundation; I also took the house beyond the lintel level.“I built schools, returned schools to the missions, rescued Odumegwu Ojukwu University from the status of a glorified secondary school – built structures there and secured accreditation for 15 courses including Law and Medicine.“I rehabilitated and upgraded our general hospitals, including Enugwu-Ukwu, Onitsha, and Amaku in Awka and restructured the state’s civil service, and also introduced examination as a basis for promotion.“I built more than 500km of roads across all senatorial zones that are still standing today.“I also inherited N42 billion debts when I assumed office. I didn’t talk about it. I put my hands on the plow and started working and cleared arrears of pensions and salaries, among others,’’ Ngige was also quoted as saying.Ngige added that he had the advantage of being part of this government and part of the 7th Senate.“I’m well equipped for the job,’’ he stressed.“I plan to re-engineer Nigeria the way I re-engineered Anambra. April 19 is the date. Let all roads lead to Alor where the matter will be laid to rest,’’ Ngige quipped. (NAN)
Labor and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige has said he will make a statement on his way to the presidency on Tuesday.
Ngige said this at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, at a reception organized by the All Progressive Congress (APC) South East Progressive Forum, according to a statement made available at the office in Abuja.
The group is among numerous other political and non-political groups across the country, urging Ngige to join the presidential race.
The statement said that Ngige, while addressing the crowd at the airport, said that he had consulted extensively and that the time had come to speak.
He recalled that last December he received a similar call from his brothers from the APC exchange and some who have not even practiced politics who came to his hometown, Alor, and pressured him to join the presidential race.
”Make no mistake about it, the presidency belongs to us in the southern part of Nigeria. It is also a truism that of all the states in the South, only the Southeast has not tasted the presidency. That gives a lot of weight to the claim you're making.
“In PDP they are discussing whether it will be North or South. In our own party, APC, we have already agreed that it is the South.
“I told my followers when they came on December 31 last year that I would speak after the spiritual season of Lent, so that I could consult my God, angels and archangels. Easter is tomorrow.
“It is the day of the resurrection. We will rise with the resurrection and after Easter Monday, I will make a statement on my way to the presidency,” he said.
Ngige, who was also the governor of Anambra state, said that he had consulted mortal and immortal people and now they are going to speak.
According to him, “I have ears and I heard your message clearly. Everyone should come to my hometown, Alor, in the Idemili South local government area of Anambra state on Tuesday. I will make a statement that day.
Regarding the issue of consensus among APC applicants in the southeast, he said the issue has not come up now, saying such a discussion would come after the expression of interest and purchase of forms.
He praised the members of the APC Southeast Progressive Forum for turning out in great numbers to welcome him and prayed that God would honor each and every one of them as they had honored him.
Earlier, the group's spokesman, Mr. Tony Chime, told Ngige that they came out in droves to beg him to join the race for the presidency.
Chime said that they had screened many people running for president, but had yet to see the desired material.
“We ask you, our father, brother and son to come out and join the race. We know it's the South's turn and when the South comes, we know it's the Southeast's turn and you are eminently qualified to deliver,” he said.
Ngige then visited the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as part of his consultations with political leaders from across the country.
Source Credit: NAN
The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the renegotiation of the conditions of service of all workers at public universities throughout the country.
Labor and Employment Minister Dr Chris Ngige had this to say when he received members of the government side of the 2009 federal government/university based unions agreement renegotiation committee led by Professor Nimi Briggs, on Monday in Abuja.
Ngige said this in a statement signed by the ministry's Acting Head of Press and Public Relations.
The minister was speaking in the context of the ongoing strike by the University Staff Union (ASUU).
He said that as a facilitator, he has been pushing for everything contained in the signed 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be done, including the implementation of the renegotiated positions.
He recalled that the renegotiation began in 2017 when the Federal Government was inaugurated. a committee headed by SAN who was later replaced by Professor Munzali Jibril, but COVID-19 hit in 2020.
The minister said that in the December 2020 agreement he gave the government side a timetable to go back to the university unions that are its employees to fix everything.
“I started pushing to see things get done. What the Munzali committee came up with is a proposal. Both Munzali and ASUU did not sign. At our last meeting in February before ASUU went on strike, we said that everyone should go back to their director.
”I asked Education several times what they had done with the document. Later we got information about the areas of disagreement. There is nothing wrong in it. It is bound to happen. I told ASUU to create a committee, they said the Munzali committee had expired.
“As a conciliator, I have to make use of the labor instruments at my disposal. The bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education do not feel the strike. There are things that are above me. I am not the Minister of Education.
”I can't go to the Minister of Education and dictate to him how to manage his place. But I told ASUU that you should bomb them at the Federal Ministry of Education to get this going. There are many ways to do it,” he said.
According to him, if you go to the labor act there is something called a picket line. You can picket, the strike is the maximum.
“Picketing means you can stay in the hallway, clapping or singing. Workers are authorized to do so. But every time there's a disagreement, it's a strike."
“We are the children and some of us the parents who have our children in public schools. I have my children in public universities, including scholarships and those sponsored by my foundation.
“So, I am a father. I'm sorry. I did not send my children to Igbinedion or Afe Babalola or Cambridge,” she said.
He said that the Nigerian university system produced it and remains proud of it.
"Why won't I support if ASUU and its unions now want a renegotiation of their conditions of service, which is the main thing in the proposals committee?"
Also speaking was Professor Briggs, who is also the professional chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndifu Alike, Ebonyi State, saying that the renegotiation committee was consulting all interested parties with a view to finding a lasting solution to the disputed issues. .
Source Credit: NAN
Femi Falana (SAN) on Friday expressed implicit confidence in the ability of Nigerian troops to end banditry and insurgency without outside help.
He expressed his confidence in Ijoko in Ogun at the funeral of Mr. Akinwunmi Akinsola, the late chairman of the Nigerian Trades Union Congress (TUC), Kwara chapter.
Akinsola was killed in the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train service.
Falana said that the Nigerian government and citizens should reject Governor Nasir El-Rufa'i's suggestion to hire mercenaries to protect Nigeria.
“I can safely say that Nigeria has some of the most patriotic soldiers in the world.
“All that is missing is appropriate weapons to fight terrorists that are well equipped.
“I speak from my personal knowledge because I defend high-ranking soldiers; generals illegally accused of demanding weapons to fight terrorists,'' Falana said.
He stressed that the Nigerian troops were ready and prepared to fight, but lacked sophisticated weapons to perform optimally and to the expectations of the people.
The lawyer pointed out that he had heard some soldiers say that they did not join the army because they wanted to commit suicide.
"The troops are prepared to fight, but they simply say that it is suicidal to confront terrorists with inadequate weapons," he added.
Addressing journalists after the funeral, Mr. Quadri Olaleye, TUC National President, said it was a sad time for the union and the country as the union lost two members, General Secretary Musa-Lawal Ozigi and Akinsola in the attack.
Olaleye said both victims were active union members who died on active duty.
“I call on union members to keep the flag flying and continue the fight.
“As a union, good governance is our goal; that's why we established a program to ensure stability in the system.
“It was during our national tour that our members were attacked on the Abuja-Kaduna train service.
"Our comrades lost their lives for a purpose that is stability and good government to have a country in peace," he said.
The national president of the TUC prayed that God would give the families of the victims the strength to bear the loss.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that relatives, friends, colleagues, union members and supporters with tears in their eyes flocked to St. Paul's Anglican Church, Oluke Town, Ijoko in Ogun when the body of the deceased arrived. .
Governor El-Rufa'i had recently said that the devastating attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, which claimed eight lives, would have been prevented if the federal government had heeded his earlier warnings.
reports that the Minister for Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has commiserated with the TUC for the deaths of Ozigi and Akinsola in the Kaduna train terror attack.
Ngige sent his condolences in a letter addressed to the TUC on Wednesday in Abuja.
Source Credit: NAN
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global health emergency and an economic slowdown, calling for prevention while promoting economic activities. Using the International Labor Organization (ILO) Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) modules for business development, UN agencies, in collaboration with the Nigerian government, jointly implemented a project to enhance the capacity of MSMEs /local manufacturers to produce quality personal protective equipment and accessories. other health-related products. The IMESUN training, implemented jointly by the ILO and UN Women, has trained up to 114 MSMEs from the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
The United Nations System in Nigeria and the Government of Nigeria implemented a project to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs and local manufacturers to produce high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE) and healthcare-related products. The project, financed by the United Nations Basket Fund and implemented jointly by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Women, supports the ability of Nigerian MSMEs and manufacturers to meet both internal and external demand.
As the pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, many countries are focusing on meeting their domestic needs. Many MSMEs are switching to PPE production to take advantage of the economic opportunity. Several local factories, industries and manufacturers (including tailors) have changed their production lines to take advantage of this increased demand. However, this rise has not been without challenges ranging from understanding how to build a viable business to producing quality PPE.
Training objectives included the need to: address identified knowledge and skills gaps among business owners, especially those in PPE production; provide quality resources and technical support to help business owners grow and expand their business operations; identify other areas of support required in this area; develop an understanding of gender basics so that you can promote gender mainstreaming practices and human rights-based approaches in your business operations; and monitor, review, and certify Start and Improve Your Business trainers.
In her opening remarks at the event held at the Hotel Valencia on February 28, 2022, the Director of the ILO, Ms. Vanessa Phala, lamented the effect of COVID-19 on the country's economy. Speaking through Dino Corell, she affirmed that the crisis has affected investment, growth and employment while exerting a negative impact on the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises. “The pandemic has an asymmetric impact on small businesses and the workers employed in these units, who have borne the brunt of the pandemic's fallout,” she said. Ms. Vanessa Phala expressed optimism and reiterated that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria are vital for decent and productive employment, accounting for two-thirds of all jobs globally and creating many new jobs. .
Along the same lines, UN Women National Program Officer, Ms. Patience Ekeoba, who represented the UN Women Country Representative, highlighted that UN Women will pay special attention to improving the marketing capabilities of women-owned MSMEs. for expanding business growth and policy adoption. issues associated with the distribution of products produced by women and young women entrepreneurs and expand gender-responsive procurement principles to ensure that government agencies, development partners and private sector entities prioritize PPE produced by women .
UNIDO's Lead Technical Advisor for the project, Jarl M Hansstein, in his goodwill message noted that a needs analysis was conducted on selected MSMEs to reveal the areas where they needed support and incentives to improve their products and business. He also mentioned that the project aims to help companies improve the quality of their PPE and also target export markets within the ECOWAS region. In addition, UNIDO will build on this important training, helping them to formulate and implement concrete business plans in relation to the specific objectives to be achieved.
The WHO coordinator for the project, Tayo Hamzat, stated that the project will not only contribute to improving Nigeria's health status, but will also help boost the economy by opening Nigerian produce to the international market because the project was designed to produce quality PPE. products in a safe and healthy environment for business. He added that this was a rich project because the selected beneficiaries would have interventions from four Participating United Nations Organizations (PUNO) and urged participants to make sure they seize the opportunity.
In his special remarks, the Honorable Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, represented by Dr. Martina Nwordu, Director of Tasks and Special Projects, thanked the different struggles that the entrepreneurs went through and applauded the training as strategic. The minister affirmed that "it is, therefore, a good initiative to support these groups of entrepreneurs to access information for the promotion and positioning of young companies in Nigeria, as a good practice". He also pointed out that through the activities of NDE, a parastatal company under the Ministry of Labour, SMEs have benefited as groups and as individuals from business development as a means of job creation. He promised the ministry's willingness to effectively support and participate in the project.
Also speaking during the opening ceremony, the Director of Economic Services of the Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs through the Office of Women's Economic Empowerment Officer, Ms. Joy Obaje, pledged her support for the project. She also pointed to some ministry interventions to support women entrepreneurs, such as access to financial interventions, as well as the 50 Million Women's African Speaking Platform Project (50MAWSP) financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of 50 million women in business in 38 African countries.
IMESUN training was one of the intervention areas of the whole project and it started with the training of trainers. The trainers were appointed by ILO and UN Women tripartite partners, including the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the Nigerian Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment (FMLE), the Nigerian Congress Nigeria Labor Law (NLC) in addition to those nominated by the Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs (FMWA).
The Training of Entrepreneurs (TOE) using IMESUN modules focuses on starting and improving small businesses as a strategy to create more and better jobs for women and men. The program is made up of a set of interrelated training packages for different levels of business maturity, including Start Your Business; Improve your business; and expand your business. SIYB aims to increase the viability of MSMEs through management principles suitable for the environment of developing economies.
As many as 114 MSMEs (63 women-owned and 51 men-owned businesses) from Nigeria's six geopolitical zones have received training on how to grow their businesses with a gender lens. The trainings were held in three different locations across the country: 64 MSMEs from the northern region (NC, NE and NW) were trained in Abuja from February 28 to March 11; 25 MSMEs from the Southwest region were trained in Lagos from March 14 to 18, and up to 25 MSMEs from the Southeast and South-South regions were trained in Enugu from March 21 to 25. Some of the grantees have provided positive feedback on the quality of the program.
“In my five years running this business, I never thought about expanding, because I always had the belief that it's scary. This training made me realize that it is due to some bad business practices that I have advocated. For example, I have operated with the mindset that trading capital is mine and as such I must use it in any way I choose. My Ahaa moment came during the module on financial planning. I learned in detail the financial implications of every aspect of my business, as well as how to separate business money from personal money. In fact, if I had continued to run my business as I did before the training, especially financially, I would never have scaled up” Rashidat, a PPE entrepreneur from Kogi “The trainers showed a very high level of having been properly trained before training us. They were approachable, emotionally intelligent in managing the adult classes, and had a good grounding in business development SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). They did everything possible so that the students reached a high level of satisfaction. The cartoon-level simplification and street-level clarity of the training manual, which is also adaptable to the Nigerian context, is something I have yet to see in any business development training. The naughty subject of cash flow has been stripped down to such basics that even a five-year college program can't pull it off. Simply put, the training manual is excellent for its intended purpose.” Muhammad Kachalla, PPE entrepreneur from Maiduguri.
In his remarks, one of the IMESUN trainers from the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, Odunayo Balogun, thanked the funders and PUNOs of the project and described it as timely and asked MSMEs not to joke about the opportunity.