The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has described the present government as the worst ever in the history of industrial relations in the country.
According to the association, the present dispensation had performed below expectations in terms of upholding reforms that would protect the rights of employers in the private sector.
The President, NECA, Mr. Richard Uche, while speaking at the association’s 55th Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Thursday, noted that a sane society must defend the rule of law, as its essence was to promote orderliness, civility and development.
He said, “With our knowledge of past experience in promoting industrial harmony in Nigeria, the current dispensation is arguably the worst in the annals of industrial relations in the country.
“The current clime is characterised by flagrant disobedience of court orders, spontaneous and illegal strike, vandalising of company’s property in the name of strikes, disrespect for union jurisdictional scope, disregard for grievance and trade dispute procedures, resistance to structural changes, partisanship by custodians of processes and procedures for trade dispute resolution. Unfortunately, the casualty of this is the Nigerian economy.”
Uche argued that Nigeria’s industrial relations systems required wholesale reforms that would protect the rights of all economic actors and promote productivity.
He urged the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to rise to the challenge and restore tripartism, enthronement of the rule of law and reciprocal respect of rights as espoused by the International Labour Organisation.
“An urgent revamping and resuscitation of the National Labour Advisory Council that has been moribund for years is required to facilitate and enhance government’s efforts at reforming the industrial relations systems,” he added.
Meanwhile, the NECA boss noted that the cost of governance in Nigeria had escalated to a level that was worrisome. He observed that it was not prudent for Nigeria to spend over 70 per cent of its yearly budget on recurrent expenditure, leaving less than 30 per cent for capital projects.
According to Uche, where an increasing ratio of government budget is used to support its administrative structure, poverty will abound and remain pervasive as economic growth would decline or stagnates.
He said, “Let us recall that in the 1970s, total recurrent expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure was about 32.04 per cent, increasing to a tolerable 38 per cent in 1983. The implication of the current development is that sustaining government administrative structures comes at a gargantuan cost to the economy, as available funds are barely sufficient to finance capital projects in vital sectors.’