By Dipo Olowookere
Federal Government’s initiative on labour and job creation received another boost recently with an offer by Iran to key into Nigeria’s efforts through diverse cooperation in vocational skills acquisition programmes.
This was made known when the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Morteza Zarchi, visited the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, in his office recently.
According to the Minister, “This marks the beginning of a robust labour and job related relationship between the two countries. Nigeria and Iran share a lot in common and here is an opportunity for us to explore this for the benefit of the two countries.”
Expressing the appreciation of the Federal Government to an offer by Iran to build vocational skills centres in major cities in Nigeria, locally train and sponsor some of the trainees to Iran, the Minister restated the unwavering commitment of the Buhari administration to job creation and fair labour practices, urging the Iranian Ambassador to relay the great opportunities of investment offered by the 2017 budget back home to the Iranian business community.
“Nigeria is an investment haven, a destination, contrary to publications in some international media. We have our challenges just like many other countries, but Nigeria is generally peaceful and investment friendly. Having heard our President present the 2017 budget, I appeal to you to invite the Iranian business community, tell them about the friendly investment climate in Nigeria; ask them to exploit the fertile opportunities in our construction, manufacturing, agriculture, trade and even real estate.”
The Minister further requested Iran to cooperate with Nigeria on International Labour Migration in order to make it possible for Nigerians with skills in various vocations to legally work in the country, adding that Nigeria was already working with the ILO in that direction.
Making his presentation, Mr Morteza Rahimi Zarchi expressed confidence in the efforts being made by Nigeria to steer her economy out of recession, applauding significant steps taken by the Buhari administration.
“I am very happy that one of the most important issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari in his budget speech was the creation of jobs in the country. I will be very happy that in these last days of 2016, I can raise up some issues concerning the joint co-operation between our two countries in this sector,” he said.
He recalled that Nigeria and Iran have similar challenges and requested for closer co-operation to further explore common grounds and boost labour, trade and industry in the two countries.
“I have made a lot of contacts with people coming from Nigeria, and with different relevant authorities on labour related matters. I am very confident that through the exchange of views, we can activate some of these grounds. Iran is ready to create vocational skills centres in different cities in Nigeria and train those to be recruited. Some can travel to Iran for training in various vocational programmes which we run.”
He further said his country would assist in expanding job creation activities in Nigeria through the transfer of production and managerial skills as well as capital inflow to stimulate small and medium scale industries.
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