Senate Committee Recommends Increase In Labour Ministry’s Budget

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The Senate has committed to increase the 2024 Budget of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

This was made known by its Committee on Labour and Productivity on Friday.

The consideration followed requests from the ministry during the 2024 budget defence hearing with the committee.

In its breakdown of N13,025,595,947, N2,638,634,610 is proposed for overhead cost while N10,386,961,337 is proposed for capital cost.

This is against a total of N9.622bn appropriated for 2023 of which N5.500bn was proposed for personnel cost, N998 million for overhead cost and N3.123 billion for capital cost.

Also in 2022, a total of 14.076 was proposed of which N5.474 billion was proposed for personnel cost, N693 million for overhead cost and N7.908 for capital cost.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, who was present with other directors from the ministry, noted that the revenue generated in the previous year had increased progressively.

He said, “If we are given much more, we will do much more.”

Also, a third-term former lawmaker in the House of Representatives, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, who is now the Minister of State for Labour and Employment stressed that the ministry has had difficulties over the years in carrying out its activities due to lack of funds.

She said, “This ministry is supposed to be registering and reviewing new factories and you know how many factories are in this country.

“We are not able to do that because we do not have enough funds, if we are given enough funds, we will be able to perform effectively.

“This is a ministry that needs money to be able to activate and generate revenue.”

The Director General of Michael Imodu National Institute for Labour Studies, an agency under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Issa Aremu, pleaded for an increase in the funds budgeted for the ministry, saying that it has a lot of projects and activities to carry out.

He said, “The only way we can help the President to achieve these as the ministry in charge of employment is to increase our funds. We can’t achieve all these with this kind of budget.

“There is low funding for the institute. Our buildings are dilapidated, we need resources to address all these.

“The National Assembly must see the need to review this budget and the agencies under it.”

The chairman of the committee, Senator Diket Plang (APC, Plateau Central) responded to this by saying, “If we don’t work on our laws, it won’t help us.

“We need to understand ourselves, be on the same page and pursue the same thing to achieve one goal to move the country forward.”

“Is it of the opinion of this committee that what has been allocated to the ministry should be increased?” Plang asked.

In his response, Tahir Monguno (APC Borno North) said the committee has the power of appropriation and they will review the budget upwards if they deem it necessary.

Monguno noted, “Nobody should think that we don’t have the power to tinker with the budget. If in our wisdom we feel that the allocation given to the Ministry of Labour is too little we will address it.”

Following this statement, Moguno moved a motion for the funds to be increased which was seconded by Ede Dafinone (APC, Delta Central).

After being put to a voice vote, all members agreed that it should be increased.

Others present at the hearing were, Senators Babangida Hussaini (APC, Jigawa North West), Binos Yaroe (PDP, Adamawa South), Sharafadeen Abiodun (APC, Oyo South), Ede Dafinone (APC, Delta Central) and Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno North) amongst others.

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