NECA has urged the Federal Government to continue to support growth and survival of businesses amidst the fight against Coronavirus pandemic. The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to continue to support growth and survival of businesses amidst the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Mr Timothy Olawole, the Director-General of NECA, made the appeal during the celebration of 2020 National May Day on Friday in Abuja. This year’s theme is: “Covid-19 Pandemic and its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class”. Olawole, represented by Mrs Nike Ajala, Head, NECA Abuja Liaison Office, said that government continual support was imperative.
According to him, we will like to use this opportunity to call on government to continue to support the growth and survival of businesses in the country, especially in the formal and informal sectors.
“If businesses do not survive the effect of COVID-19 within the shortest period, it could result in massive job loss in the country. “It is our responsibility, government, employers and workers to ensure that this does not occur,” he said. The director-general noted that during the lockdown, activities of organised businesses and the informal sector were severely disrupted. He added that for a country whose socio-economic environment was already challenging, the advent of the pandemic has placed additional burden on businesses and put thousands of workers under the threat of job losses. He said that, nevertheless, employers have remained faithful in their obligations to their workers despite the lockdown and six weeks or thereabouts of non-productivity.
“As representative body of employers of labour, we have continued to encourage our members to continue to hold on and carter to the full compliments of their workforce for as long as it is practicable. With the slight relaxation of the lockdown from May 4, there is the hope that productive business activities will gradually pick up and we may still save jobs where the elastics have not snapped. Overall, employers and workers owe the economy joint responsibly to sustain productivity, and competitiveness of business for continued employment of our workforce. It goes without saying that the pandemic has and will severely impact on the socio-economic lives of both employers and workers positively and negatively,” he said.
Olawole noted that some of the effects include the partial restriction of movement within states and full restriction interstate which would limit employers’ abilities to generate maximum income. He also noted that the current restricted approved work hours of 9 a.m to 3 p.m by government was operationally inadequate for effective productivity as a large percentage of employees reside in one state and work in another. “This will cause both mental and physical strain on employees as they commute to beat the deadline. We have appealed to government to review this time and allow night shifts operations,” Olawole said.
He further noted that social distancing in the workplace would have implications for workers’ interaction and specific number of employees who would work at any given time, among others.
He said these aforementioned disruptions and many more are the new normal for the unforeseeable future, adding that every aspect of our personal and workplace lives has to be adjusted to curb spread of the pandemic. He commended the resilience of organised labour for their roles in protecting the interest of employees and their collaboration with employers to ensure a productive and harmonious workplace. The director-general also commended workers in the health sector for their roles in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. (NAN)