The rising wave of unemployment in the country has caught the attention of the federal government as it has announced the opening of employment and job creation portals for unemployed Nigerians living in the country as well as in the Diaspora.
Labour and Employment Minister, Senator Chris Ngige, who made this known yesterday, while speaking with newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at Abuja, said Council approved a portal called Nigerian Labour Exchange (NILEX) that would be domiciled in his ministry for employment and job creation.
"The FEC approval has to do with employment and job creation. It is a portal called Nigerian Labour Exchange (NILEX), housed in my ministry," he explained.
He said the platform had not been developed over time and could not take stress of the number of people wanting to go into it, adding that the digital platform was supposed to be used by employers on one hand and job seekers on the other.
His words, "The employers will come in and load the vacancy they have, the type of skill they want, the qualifications of people that can fit in there.
"Then the job seekers those who are looking for job, graduates, non-graduates will register, put in the qualification, put in their skill and what you can do and then the two groups are matched. The employer can speak with a job seeker, via that platform.
"So over the years we have not been able to expand it. But on a bilateral, multilateral agreement now the funds are provided. So we are redesigning it, remodeling it, and then upgrading the infrastructure.
"Council approved that consultant also do that with a completion period of 12 weeks and with that we have passed the first stage of digitalising that particular platform.
"One of the good things about our platform now when it becomes operational, all those phones platforms that ask people to register for work, pay in N10,000 or N20,000, will become a thing of the past because this will be a government platform. And when you go there, you know is a genuine platform.
"Apart from that, people in diaspora can also upload their expertise and tell Nigerians, what they have that qualifies them for special jobs and if they are employers in Nigeria that need them, again there will be a handshake through that same portal."
Ngige further said another memo was presented before the Council for approval on behalf of one of the parastatals under the Labour Ministry, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
Ngige also stated that Council approved the digitisation of the operations of the NSITF which was estimated to cost N1.2 billion.
According to the minister: "As you're aware, a lot has happened in the NSITF in terms of revenue losses and pillage of funds that have been given to that organisation.
"The NSITF implements the Employee Compensation Act ECA 2010 and by that Act, Employers in both public and private sectors are supposed to pay one percent of the emoluments of their staff into a social fund in NSITF.
"And this one is to be used as a premium or insurance fund to cater for workers or staff members who have accidents, injuries, disabilities and even deaths that occur in the cause of their work. So it's like an accident or injury insurance.
"The Pension Act makes reference to it that it must be done for workers in addition to the group life. So, the monies that have gone in there have not been properly utilised, the payments have not been tracked.
"So today we brought to council a memo for an e-NSITF by which their operations will now be digitalized. Both the payments that are put in from any of their stations, they have 56 branches and 11 regional offices. So in the comfort of your office, you can pay and register in that platform and that money is now tracked into Central pool.
"For from the central pool if claims are made and payments are also made to the insurance on those who are beneficiaries, you also track them.
"So this is one of the things the government has done in the spirit of digitalisation of the economy and ease of doing business for everybody.
"So this will make for efficiency and help the organisation to grow it leaps and bounds. already the organisation is revitalized following the present restructuring agreement for them.
"Today. NSITF can pay all their salaries, they can boast of even doing capital projects. And this digitisation of funds operation is part of the capital project that they are doing and like I said earlier, the accountability that is there will make for non-leakages of funds.
"We also know that previously, they have been complaints of claims not being paid but with e-NSITF will track claims and allow people to know who and who benefits from those claims. So this is one of the memos presented today.
"A consultant is going to handle it and council approved that the digitalisation should be completed in eight weeks."