The relationship between the Ministry of Labor and the National Assembly deteriorated on Wednesday, when the Labor Minister's delegate, Chris Ngige, clashed at a public hearing with members of the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance, and other financial institutions. The public hearing was on Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Cap B 3 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill 2020 (SB. 178) and Bill 2020 on Electronic Transactions (SB. 155). Trouble began when the ministry's Director of Productivity and Labor Standards, Eyewumi Neburagho, was invited to speak on the BOFIA amending bill. He caused a stir when he requested that both should be suspended.
Neburagho argued that although the ministry was a major stakeholder, it did not go through the public hearing but decided to send a representative when it stumbled on the media information. He said the ministry should be aware of how the bill would affect the interests of the workers. Therefore, he asked the senate panel either to step down more steps on the bill or to expunge aspects that would harm the interests of the workers. He said, "We were not provided or presented with a copy of the said bill in the Ministry of Labor and Employment on which this public hearing is called."
"Our goal is to enhance decent jobs, encourage fair labor practices and ensure industrial peace in the economy," he added, "In view of this, the Ministry of Labor and Employment wishes to recommend that the proposed bill be withdrawn and that the public hearing be postponed until the labor issues in the bill are resolved in the correct tripartite advisory forum. "On the other hand, the sponsors of the bill may wish to postpone the labor aspect of the bill and proceed with the areas of digital financial transactions." The ministry's submission did not go well with the panel which insisted that the bill 's legislative cycle would continue. The President of the panel, Senator Uba Sani, warned the ministry against dictating to the National Assembly how it should carry on its business of law making.
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