Labour minister, senators clash again over bill

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The relationship between the Ministry of Labour and the National Assembly worsened on Wednesday when the representative of the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, clashed with members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and other Financial Institutions, at a public hearing.

The Public hearing is on Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3  LFN 2004 (Repeal and Reenactment ) Bill 2020( SB.178)  and Electronic Transaction Bill, 2020 (SB.155)

Trouble started when the Director of Productivity and Labour Standards in the Ministry, Eyewumi Neburagho, who represented the Minister, was invited to make comments on the bill.

He caused a stir when he demanded the suspension of both the public hearing and the bill pending when the Senate Committee would formally invite the Ministry and send a copy of the draft bill to it.

Neburagho argued that being a major stakeholder, the ministry was not carried along in the public hearing but decided to send a representative when it stumbled on the information in the media.

He said the Ministry must know how the bill would affect workers interest.

He, therefore, said the Senate panel should either step down further actions on the bill or expunge aspects that would affect workers interest.

 The submissions of the Ministry did not go down well with the panel who insisted that the legislative process on the bill would continue.

The Chairman of the panel, Senator Uba Sani, warned the Ministry against dictating to the National Assembly how to carry out its business.

He said, “We are federal lawmakers elected to make laws for the good of the country and we would not sit here and watch an appointee of an executive arm of government dictating to us on how to conduct our procedure.”

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