Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Wednesday that the policies and intervention programmes of the federal government made it impossible for workers to entrenched in the last four years of the present administration.
Speaking at the 2019 May Day celebration in Abuja, Osinbajo said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration believed that governance is about ensuring welfare for the citizens and promotion of social justice.
“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 released the Paris Club refunds owed since 2005 to make sure workers were not owed anything.
“We also ensured the payment of outstanding benefits of retrenched Nigerian Airways workers owed for decades. We also ensured the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), also paid arrears owed to parastatals and Civil Service pensioners covering 101,393 Civil Service pensioners on all grade levels 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 secession in the course of the Civil War from 1967-1970. All of these veterans have now been paid their benefits,” he said.
The vice president said the welfare and well-being of Nigerians who render honest services every day is the true benchmark of federal government’s commitment to social justice and dignity of all Nigerians.
He said the federal government would continue to commit itself to the cause of improving the lot of every working Nigerian and providing for those who cannot work, stressing that the new National Minimum Wage, which the president signed into law, shall be fully implemented by the current administration.
“Let me once again express our deep appreciation to the leadership of the Nigerian Workers for the understanding showed during and after the negotiations of the new National Minimum Wage. We shall continue to provide the enabling environment for higher productivity, industrial peace and harmony, as well as a congenial atmosphere for effective collective bargaining amongst trade unions and employers, while also protecting fundamental rights and other lawful rights of the Nigerian people and especially people who are at work,” he said.
The vice president also spoke on government’s programmes, saying the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has provided opportunities for Nigerians in the formal and informal sectors of the nation’s economy.
He said: “Indeed, the largest numbers of Nigerian workers are informal workers. Those comrades of ours who are petty traders, smallholder farmers, artisans and tradesmen also deserve our respect and the protection of all labour laws.
“Our N-Power programme currently employs 500,000 young Nigerian graduates and additional 75,000 in specialized training as builders, automotive technicians and in other vocations. We have also expanded this programme to include technicians in animation and also specialists in other areas of technology.
“Our Homegrown School Feeding Programme where we now feed 9.5 million children daily in 30 States, provides opportunities for over a 100,000 cooks and farmers across the country.
“Our TraderMoni and MarketMoni schemes provide almost 2million loans to petty traders in all States of the Federation. At the Next Level of our administration, we intend to expand the scope of these micro-credit loans to traders and artisans.
“Our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has also provided over 1million loans to smallholder farmers across the country. Already, that scheme is being expanded to cover yet another 1million farmers all across the country.