The House of Representatives has said that there is an urgent need to put modalities in place to protect Nigerian workers from massive job losses, following lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Henry Nwawuba (PDP-Imo) at the plenary on Tuesday.
Moving the motion earlier, Nwawuba noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, which was challenging the stability of corporate organisations and governments had distorted global socio-economic ecosystems.
He said that protection and support for the organised and informal private sector workers under the unfortunate lockdown was necessary for continued economic and social development of Nigeria.
The lawmaker said that a large number of workers were being employed by organised private sector and big corporate organisations as well as the informal sector.
He said that workers in the medium scale industries had little or no job security and other benefits like the civil and public servants as provided in the Labour Act.
According to him, most of the workers have been working from home since the lockdown without asking for extra pay or gratuity, while some banks and institutions have started asking staff to proceed on compulsory leave.
“The unusual circumstance of negative threat of mass sack of workers definitely will be devastating to citizens and this will be consequent on several weeks of economic and business paralysis occasioned by the lockdown,’’ he said.
Nwawuba said that the lockdown had stretched the limits of some organisations, which were beginning to buckle under the weight of the wage burden.
“If the needful is not done as quickly as possible to bolster key sectors through Federal Government economic packages in terms of income support, tax credits or tax deferrals, short-term work schemes, wage subsidies and tax moratoriums on loan payments for those organisations, unimaginable mass job losses loom in Nigeria and this could lead to a great distortion in the economic growth graph of the nation.’’
He said a policy action should be taken to reduce the socio-economic impact of the pandemic through the establishment of a Job “Retention Scheme for COVID-19 Pandemic.’’
The lawmaker said government should be committed to saving jobs by ensuring that workers were not laid off,
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House committee on Health and COVID-19 to ensure compliance.