Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Minister to Sanusi - No Mass Sack of Workers

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Health workers protest

The Federal Government yesterday said it would create more job opportunities rather than reduce its workforce, apparently responding to the call for mass sack by the Central Bank governor. Labour Minister Chukwuemeka Wogu, who said this at the 8th National Labour Relations Summit of the Michael Imodu Institute for Labour Studies, Ilorin, added that government had drawn up policies that would enable it satisfy the employment needs of the country.

"Government owes the society an enabling environment to create job opportunities and the president's desire is to create more jobs and not retrenchment," he said, responding to earlier statements by labour leader Abdulwaheed Omar on Sanusi's call.

Sanusi on Tuesday said in Warri, Delta State, that spending 70 per cent of government's earnings on workers' salaries is hurting the economy and suggested a reduction of the workforce by 50 per cent.

This drew the ire of labour unions, who accused him of double standards and pursuing anti-people economics. Yesterday, a CBN official told lawmakers in Abuja that Sanusi was misquoted.

But speaking in Ilorin, Nigeria Labour Congress president Omar and his counterpart of the Trades Union Congress Peter Esele criticised the CBN governor over his comments on the government's workforce.

Esele urged stakeholders to come up with a framework for creating more job opportunities in the country. "Nigeria is referred to as giant of Africa not because of anything, but for the abundance of its human resources," he said.

Omar, who was represented by his deputy Issa Aremu, said government should do something urgent to provide job opportunities.

In his response, Labour Minister Wogu, quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said there will be no retrenchment in the public service and government was working towards creating more job opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) yesterday opposed the call by labour leaders for the Central Bank governor's sack.

"Whilst we do not agree that the cause of the exorbitant recurrent expenditure is wholly due to the size of the public service work-force and that the sacking of half its size is the solution to the identified problem, we believe the call for the call for the sacking of the forthright public officer for volunteering his personal opinion is equally preposterous," spokesman for CPC Rotimi Fashakin said in a statement.

"We equally believe that rather vilifying the CBN governor for the commentary, this should throw up meaningful discourse on extricating the nation from the financial recklessness of this PDP-led Federal Government.

"In the first place, the CBN governor is not in a position to implement policy for sacking the nation's public servants. We are at a loss at the nexus between his (Sanusi's) personal opinion and the strident call for his sack, except there are other sinister underpinings in this call.

"As a party, we have equally taken note of the ignominious manner this present crop of Labour leadership truncated, in January 2012, the people's popular refusal to yield to the exploitative tendencies of the nation's rulers. In the course of scuttling the people's revolt, some of these Labour leaders got appointed into some dodgy committees that were not primed to achieve result.

"This is why we view this call by the Labour leaders for Sanusi's sack as a cheap, opportunistic (albeit languid) ploy to crawl back to the people's reckoning."

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