The Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission wants member states of the Commission to adopt policies that will enable it put in place regional mechanisms that will facilitate and enhance social integration and create decent jobs among member states that will discourage xenophobia and other forms of discriminations in the workplace.
Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender of the Commission, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne who spoke at a meeting of Ministers in charge of Labour and Employment in the region asked the Ministers to adopt draft directive on minimum standard towards the harmonization of labour laws of member states aimed at promoting decent work among member states.
She said that the ECOWAS Commission recognises the fact that social dialogue contributes to the overall cohesion of the society and is crucial for productivity and a well-functioning region, adding that without active collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders for the consolidation of peace and social cohesion, the objectives of the socio-economic development of the region would be an illusion.
According to her, to promote decent work for the citizens of ECOWAS, it is imperative that ECOWAS stakeholders including Ministries of Labour and Employment in Member States, employers and workers organizations, civil society organizations and international partners, dialogue and reach consensus on the decent work agenda that take into account the needs of the labour market, while protecting the interests and rights of all workers.
She said further that ECOWAS Commission recognizes that the social dialogue contributes to the overall cohesion of societies and is crucial for productivity and a well-functioning region and therefore need the active collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders for the consolidation of peace and social cohesion without which the objectives of the socio-economic development of the ECOWAS region would be an illusion.
She said: “as ECOWAS, we have come a long way since the adoption of the ECOWAS Labor and Employment Policy in 2009. It is with a high sense of responsibility and willingness to address the challenges in the region that ECOWAS has undertaken major projects to contribute to accelerating the process of integration and achieving the vision of our community, of moving from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of peoples, by 2020.
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo said Nigeria will continue to support the ECOWAS Commission in its unabated determination to holistically address knotty employment and labour issues in the sub region.
Alo said that the critical success factor in the realization of most of the outcomes identified in the document is the political will and commitment of member States, adding that the political will lies in the Ministers in charge of Labour and Employment in the ECOWAS sub region.
He said “we cannot continue to be paying lip service to issues of labour administration in the sub region. The time has therefore come for us to make a radical departure from the past if we are to bequeath onto future generation an ECOWAS sub region that pride itself in the attainment of the tenets of decent work.”
He appealed to the Ministers to demonstrate renewed commitment and passion in the implementation of these programmes to engender integration in the sub region especially in the area of labour administration.
He assured that Nigeria, as an integral part of the ECOWAS, will not shirk in its responsibilities in that direction and will continue to support the ECOWAS Commission in its unabated determination to holistically address knotty employment and labour issues in the sub region.