Again, Labour Ministry clashes with Senate committee

ABUJA – Another clash ensued between the Ministry of Labour and the National Assembly on Wednesday, worsening their already tampered relationship.

This time representative of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige clashed with the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and other Financial Institutions at a public hearing.

Members of the committee had organised a public hearing on Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill 2020 (SB.178) and Electronic Transaction Bill, 2020 (SB.155).

At the hearing, the lawmakers asked the Director of Productivity and Labour Standards in the ministry, Eyewumi Neburagho, to give his comments on the bill that sought to amend BOFIA.

Giving his comment, Neburagho troubled the peace at the event when he told the lawmakers: “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.

“Our aspiration is 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 wish to propose that the proposed bill be stepped down and the public hearing be suspended until the labour issues in the bill are sorted out in the appropriate tripartite consultative forum.

“On the other hand, the sponsors of the bill may wish to expunge the labour aspect of the bill and go ahead with the areas on digital financial transactions.”

He said in spite of the fact that the ministry remained a major stakeholder, it was not carried along in the public hearing.

According to him, the ministry merely sent a representative to the public hearing when it stumbled on the information in the media.

Frowning at the submission of the Labour Ministry representative, the committee vowed that the legislative process on the bill would continue.

Senator Uba Sani, who is the chairman of the committee, cautioned the Labour Ministry to desist from dictating to the National Assembly how it should carry on its business of law making.

“We are federal lawmakers elected to make laws for the good of the country and we will not sit here and watch an appointee of an executive arm of government dictate to us on how to conduct our procedure,” Sani said.

The relationship between the Labour Ministry and the Senate was tampered recently after the lawmakers walked-out the State Ministry of Labour, Festus Keyamo, for raising his voice against them when they met to discuss the Federal Government move to recruit 774,000 youths under the Special Public Works Programme.

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