Labour Ministry Reborn Under Onyejeocha’s Guidance

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By Emameh Gabriel

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has experienced a significant resurgence in the last nine months. Thanks to the visionary leadership of the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, a highly experienced and accomplished politician, who has brought a new era of progress and innovation to the ministry.

Stepping into office as the country’s economy hung precariously in the balance, Onyejeocha was keenly aware of the weighty responsibilities that rested on her shoulders. As a seasoned lawmaker with a stellar record, she was also well-equipped to tackle the demands of her new role. She was thoroughly conversant with the campaign promises made by her party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and deeply concerned about the escalating unemployment crisis due to the nation’s population growth and its devastating effects. With a keen understanding of her responsibilities and a strong aversion to failure, Onyejeocha was primed to excel in her new position.

Pioneering a new path as the first female minister in the ministry’s history, she embodied the aspirations of women everywhere. Drawing on her distinguished parliamentary service, she was prepared to redefine expectations and unleash the full force of female leadership. She was ready to push boundaries and showcase the resilience and capability of women in power.

Being a woman of unyielding determination, the former House Deputy Whip was ready to leverage her expertise and experience to drive meaningful change and improve the lives of Nigerians. Thus, she hit the ground running, driving meaningful change and improvement in the lives of Nigerians. Her unrelenting commitment to excellence and her passion for the welfare of citizens have already started yielding tangible results, as she continues to spearhead the ministry’s efforts, Nigerians can look forward to even more reasons to celebrate.

Since assuming office, the minister has brought a bold new approach to government, inspired by the private sector’s focus on efficiency and results. She sees the Ministry of Labour and Employment as a key driver of progress, going beyond its traditional role of managing industrial conflicts, rather as one to tackle six critical objectives out of eighth in President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Mandates.

This innovative approach is already bearing fruit. At the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative
stakeholders’ engagement and factory assembly tour held in Lagos State this week, the minister spearheaded efforts to mobilise skilled workers, announcing a groundbreaking partnership between the ministry and PI-CNG initiators. This collaboration aims to bring together technicians and unions, creating 25,000 jobs for Nigerian technicians across the country.

Onyejeocha noted that PI-CNG is not just a transportation solution but a job creation engine, empowering progress and building a brighter future for all Nigerians. She said by working together and embracing innovation, they can create a future where every citizen thrives, aligning with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

She assured stakeholders at the event that, contrary to doubts in some quarters, the initiative is proving its effectiveness and making a meaningful impact on people’s lives. The minister declared that the Ministry of Labour will play a vital role in tracking labour data, ensuring that every job created and every skill acquired translates to tangible progress and empowerment.

She said this was necessary because she recognised that government initiatives often face a critical challenge – the absence of robust metrics to assess their effectiveness. In the past, governments have launched various job creation programmes, but their success has been obscured by inadequate measurement and reporting. However, she will address this issue by establishing clear metrics to gauge the impact of government initiatives, ensuring that these efforts yield meaningful results and lasting progress.

Onyejeocha said: “This journey towards a sustainable and prosperous future, collaboration is key. That is why I am proud to highlight the collaboration between the Presidential CNG Initiative and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Our ministry serves as the custodian of labour data, ensuring that every job created, every skill imparted, is not just a statistic but a step towards empowerment and progress.
Moreover, I want to address a fundamental issue that often plagues government-led initiatives – the lack of proper metrics to measure their impact. Historically, governments have been involved in numerous job creation programme, yet the true extent of their success is often overshadowed by inadequate measurement and reporting.

“Under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR), however, we are committed to a paradigm shift. We recognize the importance of accountability and transparency in governance. That is why we are determined to not only create meaningful change but also to showcase our achievements with pride.

“As we embark on this journey together, it’s imperative that we keep proper track of the jobs our programme create. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment is committed to this task, ensuring that the impact of initiatives like the Presidential CNG Initiative is not just measured in numbers but in the lives transformed.

“I want to emphasize the role of the Labour Ministry in bringing together artisan associations and unions. These associations and unions are the backbone of our workforce, and by uniting them, we can amplify our efforts towards achieving the 25,000 technician target set forth by the Presidential CNG Initiative”, Onyejeocha said.

Three weeks ago, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, launched the Labour Employment Enhancement Programme (LEEP) to provide the Nigerian workforce with the essential tools and opportunities to succeed in the digital era. From the outset, the minister has championed digitalisation as a strategic imperative, harnessing technology to bridge the gap between citizens and government, and ensuring that data-driven intelligence informs the successful implementation and monitoring of government initiatives under the ministry.

The LEEP is a strategic initiative designed by Onyejeocha to create jobs, foster decent work opportunities for Nigerians and to establish a conducive and sustainable environment for the nation’s burgeoning workforce, using technology.

The LEEP’s strategic initiatives include facilitating international remote work opportunities, equipping individuals with skills for self-employment and entrepreneurship, upgrading existing ministry assets, reviewing labour compliance mechanisms, and enhancing digital literacy. The programme also seeks to address youth unemployment, promote social inclusion, and empower women economically.

The programme will see the impute of key development partners, including: the World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Bank of Industry, European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rural Electrification Agency (REA), and Mastercard Foundation.

Onyejeocha noted that the LEEP aimed for zero hunger, zero poverty, economic growth, and decent jobs through six strategic initiatives.

“The LEEP vision is to train and equip 2.5 million people.
“In Nigeria, youth unemployment remains a pressing issue, with over 13 million young people currently unemployed.
“According to recent statistics, initiatives like LEEP play a crucial role in providing young people with access to training, employment opportunities, and entrepreneurial support.
“This will address the challenge of youth unemployment and promoting social inclusion.
‘’The initiative is a comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing key challenges facing our workforce such as job creation, skills development and migration control.

As President Bola Ahmed Tinubu marks his first year in office, his decision to entrust Onyejeocha with key responsibilities is a nod to her exceptional abilities. This move demonstrates the president’s commitment to harnessing the expertise of capable leaders to drive economic progress.

The Presidential Economy Coordinator Council (PECC), established recently is a prime example of this approach, bringing together a diverse range of leaders to strengthen economic governance and ensure coordinated planning and implementation. The council comprises distinguished members from government and the private sector, including the Vice-President, Senate President, and Governors’ Forum Chairman, as well as labour minister and others responsible for economic portfolios and private sector leaders like Aliko Dangote and Tony Elumelu.

President Tinubu’s leadership choices have consistently prioritized merit over other considerations, yielding impressive results. This approach has led to notable successes in Lagos State and at the national level, with capable leaders making a significant impact. Onyejeocha, as Minister of State for Labour and Employment, is a shining example, having made a significant impact since assuming office. With her wealth of experience, she has skillfully formulated and implemented policies, achieving impressive outcomes and earning widespread recognition.

Emameh Gabriel is the Special Adviser ( Media) to the Minister of State for Labour and Employment.

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