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Labour ministry clashes with senate panel over ‘financial institutions bill’

Labour ministry clashes with senate panel over ‘financial institutions bill’
July 15
16:19 2020

Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, has clashed with the senate committee on banking over a bill.

The committee conducted a public hearing on two bills; financial institutions act CAP B3 LFN 2004 (repeal and reenactment) bill 2020 and electronic transaction bill, 2020.

While appearing before the committee on Wednesday, Ngige who was represented by Eyewumi Neburagho, a director in the ministry, said they were not carried along on the labour aspect of the financial institutions act and could not make any intervention.

Neburagho said the public hearing should be suspended and a copy of the bill be given to them at the ministry to study.

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The director said the sponsors of the bill could decide to go ahead with it but the labour aspect should be expunged.

“Although the ministry has never seen the bill and was not invited to this public hearing, we felt constrained to make an intervention in inview of the information that section 45 of the bill is intended to make legislation to cover matters relating to labour administration and industrial relations,which matters are under the purview of the federal ministry of labour,” he said.

“We in the ministry of labour and employment have not been availed or presented with a copy of the said bill on which this public hearing is called.

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“Rather, in view of the interventions of the Nigerian Labour Congress on part of the bill as it affects the issue of labour legislation, we will like to state that this public hearing be stepped down until the bill is circulated to all social partners to ascertain if the bill meets international labour standards and best practices and our aspirations to enhance decent working, promote fair labour practices and ensure industrial harmony in the economy.

“In view of this, the ministry of Labour and employment wishes to propose that the bill be stepped down and the public hearing until the labour issues in the bill are sorted out in the appropriate tripartite consultative forum.”

Responding, Uba Sani, chairman of the committee, said the ministry was not in a place to dictate how they should conduct their legislative business.

“We are federal lawmakers elected to make laws for the good of the country,” Sani said.

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“We would not sit here and watch an appointee of an executive arm of government dictating to us on how to conduct our procedure.”

This is coming after Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour and employment, engaged in a shouting match with a joint committee of the national assembly on the recruitment of 774,000 citizens.

While the lawmakers had accused Keyamo of hijacking the programme from the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the minister hit back, saying they were the ones trying to take over the project.

The legislators later said the programme would remain on hold until they get the details of how it would be implemented.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has since asked Keyamo to go ahead with the recruitment.

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