The Director-General/Chief Executive of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Comrade Issa Aremu mni, has pledged MINILS’ support for a new political economy for women inclusion in national development.

He stated this at the opening ceremony of a 3-day training programme on Advocacy and Communication for Women’s Cooperative and Economic Empowerment Collectives (WEECs) organized by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) in collaboration with MINILS, under the aegis of Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED), funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The training held at Bolton White Hotel, Garki, Abuja on Monday, 9th August, 2021, had in attendance women leaders from Cooperative Societies, Association of Market Women and Women Traders, Trade Unions, Association of Producers and women groups running micro, small and medium enterprises. While commending the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the retention of jobs in the Public sector despite two recessions and the aftermath of COVID-19, Comrade Issa Aremu, mni, affirmed that the collaboration between MINILS and dRPC to empower women with voice through advocacy communication skills is very timely.

He pointed out that the 2020 report released by the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) revealed that women in Nigeria accounted for 41% ownership of micro businesses in the country, representing a total of 23 million entrepreneurs. “The report places Nigeria among the countries with the highest entrepreneurship rates globally.” However, the report further reveals that Nigeria ranks very low on the World Bank’s Global Gender Gap Index, meaning that Nigeria is far from attaining gender equality as envisaged by Goal 5 of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Director-General acknowledged that only inclusive economic empowerment can ensure sustainable political inclusion of women. Women need money and power to catch up in the race for development and poverty eradication.

Comrade Aremu, who appealed to stakeholders in the health sector to return to the negotiating table, social dialogue, mediation and conciliation to prevent incessant work stoppages in hospitals described indiscriminate indefinite strike as a willful unacceptable industrial suicide, noting that delay in payment of salaries of medical personnel amount to wage theft.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment serves as a mediator in strike actions by inviting stakeholders to the negotiating table, while the government is bound to respect the agreement reached at such deliberations.

Mr. Keyamo, who commended the laudable collaboration and synergy between MINILS and dRPC, stated that the current administration intends to nurture such partnership between government and non-state actors, while calling on both organizations to seek out further avenues of collaboration in areas of training and research.

He assured MINILS and dRPC that his office is committed to partner with both organizations on issues that would help propel the economy development trajectory of the country to greater heights.

In his keynote address, the Coordinator/Organization Development Expert of dRPC, Dr. Yahaya Hashim, affirmed that the workshop provides an opportunity to enhance women’s economic development nationwide and allow for women inclusion in economic circles, as well as building their capacity to represent women interest and ability to advocate for women in business.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba ably represented by the Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Najim Yasin appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for putting a round peg in a round hole with the appointment of the first ever Comrade DG for MINILS. He pledged to support the Institute by bringing back all the progammes of the NLC to the Institute.

Similarly, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President General, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, who was represented by the General Secretary of Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), an affiliate of TUC, said that the partnership between MINILS and dRPC marks the beginning of transformation for the Nigerian women in the area of economic autonomy while noting that the capacity of women in Nigeria needs to be developed to allow for economic development and relevance.