Ngige talks tough, says ‘FG will sanction trade unions that fail to submit audited accounts’

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The Federal Government has threatened to sanction trade unions that fail to submit details of their yearly audited accounts to the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, in a speech at the fourth Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Hotel and Personal Services Senior Staff Association (HAPSSSA), said that some unions had not submitted the reports in the past 10 years.
“The situation is disheartening; no fewer than 50 per cent of registered trade unions have failed to submit their audited accounts in the past 10 years,” Ngige, who was represented by the Registrar of Trade Unions in the ministry, Mr Amos Falonipe, said.
According to him, such conduct negates the Trade Union Act that stipulated a stringent annual submission of audited accounts for unions.
“Most union members’ dues are normally deducted at source as check-off dues; the law stipulates the practice to institute transparency in unions.
“The inability of the leadership of some unions to hold their conventions promptly is a major cause of internal crisis in the unions,” he said.
While commending the efforts of HAPSSSA toward keeping its account clean, Ngige urged the incoming executives to follow the path of transparency and rules of engagement in trade unionism.
In his speech, Dr Ademola Adeyemi, the President of HAPSSSA, called on the Federal Government to tackle security challenge in the country to encourage more investments in the hospitality and tourism industry.
He lamented that insecurity in some parts of the country had negatively affected the industry.
According to him, there is the need for tiers of government to double their efforts to stem the tide so as to encourage the tourism sector to contribute its quota to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“We have insecurity at various levels; we are faced with man-made disasters rather than natural disasters.
“Nigeria must strive to end the spate of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, herdsmen invasion, political killings and ritual killings. The Federal Government must double its efforts,” he stated.
Adeyemi said that the conference would be dedicated to seeking lasting solutions to the challenge of insecurity in the country.
The President also called on hotel managements to promote labour-friendly laws, noting that employers ought to see labour unions as partners in progress.
“To those that are otherwise, we want you to have a change of mind and see labour unions as social partners. You should avoid obnoxious policies and sharp practices because we will not hesitate to engage in legal actions where necessary,” he said.
While commending the Federal Government for the progress made in making the minimum wage law a national issue, he urged other tiers of government to make efforts to allow Nigerian workers enjoy the benefit of the new wage.
Mr Quadri Olaleye, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), in his address, drew attention to the tax situation in the country, stressing the need for government to widen the tax net to reduce the burden on the poor.
“We are all aware of the overwhelming challenges before us as a country, Even as a mono-economy, we are owing trillions of naira. Efforts are being made to generate revenue through taxation, but the pangs are becoming unbearable to the masses.
“Instead of widening the tax net, the impoverished masses are being made to pay more. More money would have been generated if we had more people working.
“Sadly, most people are not working because there are no investments. And why are there no investments? The environment is unfriendly security wise,” he claimed.

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