The Federal Government will soon begin to issue certificate of safety to factories and workplaces, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said.
The minister stated this on Monday while paying on-the-spot visit to the Inter Corp Limited gas plant owned by Chicason Group in Nnewi, Anambra State.
The minister said petrol stations and gas plants would also require a certificate of safety from the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) of the Ministry of Labour and Employment alongside the licence by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“The DPR issuing licences for the building of petrol stations and gas plants is not enough. The department should also be issuing a safety certificate from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“From now on, no DPR licence will be valid unless there is a certification from the ministry’s OSH department. The ministry is also planning monthly inspection of factories to ensure compliance. We can do that because we have offices in all the 36 states of the federation including Abuja,” he said.
The minister said the OSH department needed to be strengthened for it to ensure occupational safety in the workplace, assuring that the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and OSH would embark on aggressive factory inspection from the second quarter of the year.
“From the second quarter of 2016, the ministry would embark on aggressive factory regulation activities aimed at ensuring that factories are up to date on their responsibilities in terms of safety of workers. Both the NSITF and occupational safety and health department will enforce the laws guiding safety in the workplace,” he said.
The Managing Director of NSITF, Abubakar Munir, said every company that has workers on its payroll is expected to register such workers on the ECS.
“All firms and companies operating in Nigeria are expected to register its workers on the Employees Compensation Scheme (ECS). Those who are registering now will have to pay in arrears starting from July 2011 when the scheme started except new companies that started operation after that date,” he added.
In a related event, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi has called on Resident Doctors to support the Federal Government’s efforts at ensuring industrial peace and harmony in the health sector.
The minister spoke when he received an award of ‘Ambassador of Conscience and Notary Personality’ from the Association of Resident Doctors, FCT chapter, in his office.
Ocholi reiterated the commitment of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the promotion of decent employment and enhancement of welfare of the Nigerian workers.
Earlier, the President, Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, FCT chapter, Dr. Isaac Olubanjo Akere, urged him to use his legal background to discharge his responsibility as minister.