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Ngige: Nigeria seeking intellectual property rights waiver on COVID vaccine

Ngige: Nigeria seeking intellectual property rights waiver on COVID vaccine
June 26
12:55 2021

Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, says Nigeria is seeking a waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID vaccine.

Charles Akpan, the ministry’s deputy director of press and public relations, in a statement, quoted Ngige as saying when he hosted Vanessa Phala, the new International Labour Organisation (ILO) country director for Nigeria and English-speaking West Africa, at his office on Friday.

There have been calls for the waiver of intellectual property rights to boost production of COVID-19 vaccine and promote vaccine equity.

Ngige said the ILO needs to support Nigeria in its demand to help developing countries tackle the spread of the virus and enhance economic recovery.

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“Nigeria is in the league of countries who want the intellectual property rights as it relates to COVID-19 vaccines be waived so that developing countries can manufacture them to fight the pandemic,” he said.

Ngige said Nigeria needs more assistance from the ILO in the area of job creation.

He commended Dennis Zulu, the immediate past ILO country director, for the efforts towards the emergence of Nigeria as a regular member of the ILO governing board on June 11, 2021.

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The minister informed the ILO team that Nigeria is adapting to the changing dynamics in the world of work, which led to the domestication of the ILO conventions and repealed some of the obsolete labour laws which are currently undergoing review.

“We have moved from retreat held in Lagos, where the tripartite partners participated and now, further working on the outcome of that retreat and harmonising in-house, before transmitting to the Federal Executive Council and finally, to the National Assembly,” he said.

“We have got everybody, the lawmakers on board after initial setback through adequate liaison with the National Assembly Committee on Labour. We are hopeful that after the recess of the National Assembly, final legislative work on the review will commence.

“We are hopeful the ILO will carve a special place for Nigeria so that we can make impact in the area of job creation. We need to create jobs here . We are battling unemployment and the figure of 33% is mind boggling. By the time you add the underemployed, you are getting about 35%.

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“We want to put on record the assistance and the working relationship we enjoyed with your predecessor, the Director General and the Regional Director for Africa. Their unceasing support all through the years was instrumental to the election of Nigeria into the Governing Board of the ILO.

“It is quite heartwarming that after nearly seven years absence, we came back to the Governing Board as a titular in 2017 under my tenure. While serving as titular, they found us worthy to be the President of the Government Group of the ILO Governing Board between 2019- 2021. And now this year, barely fortnight ago, we were voted in again, this time, to the highest membership of the Governing Board as a Regular.”

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