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UNGA77: INFF will assist Nigeria to meet SDGs 4 – Ngige

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige says the newly Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework Report on Sustainable Development (INFF) will guide the country to mobilise financial support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) four on quality education.

It was reported that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday inaugurated INFF at an event on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly.

Through INFF strategy, countries take forward financing reforms to mobilise and align public and private financing with their national sustainable development priorities.

Ngige told newsmen in New York after the launch of INFF that the strategy would be aligned with the national plan to achieve quality education for the citizens.

“And you also know we have private sector involvement. So, the private sector over here still can come and be part of the investments.

“Education as you know, is a mega framework in SDGs. So, expect that when this plan goes out effectively, it will also assist us,” he said.

According to him, the problem with the Nigerian education is education financing (funds). Whether you’re talking about condition of service for lecturers, or you’re talking about infrastructure, development, classrooms, library, laboratory, equipment for teaching is funding.

“So, we need to have an articulated framework for our educational sector to benefit from proper funding.”

The minister said the TETFUND had been doing a lot on infrastructure, and research, and even human capacity development for the lecturers in all the tertiary level of education, but it’s not enough.

“So, we need to get private sector funding into it and part of what is happening here is that we can get such funds from partners to support the education sector,” he said.

On the benefit of INFF to labour and employment sector, he said it would help the sector to create more jobs and more employment.

He said it would help people get decent jobs, give them more robust labour relations between employer and employee so that we don’t have much of industrial action.

Speaking on lingering strike, he urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to obey court the National industrial Court ruling and call off its ongoing nationwide strike while negotiations are ongoing.

The court had on Wednesday ordered ASUU to call off its ongoing nationwide strike, pending the determination of a suit filed by the Federal Government.

According to him, the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions, and the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.

“The maximum in law is that when there is a court judgment or ruling or order you must first obey and then we can apply for an appeal if you so desire or apply for stay that is stay of execution.

“So, the maximum in law, jurisprudence and everything about the law, is that you obey the court’s ruling, judgment or order, no matter how bad.”

Ngige said the qualifying thing was that no matter how bad and no matter how they disagree with it, they should first obey, saying, like the military people say, obey before complain.

“So, we expect them to get back to the classrooms but that doesn’t foreclose negotiations, the negotiations should be on as a matter of fact, it will be on officially and non-officially.

“For example, the House of Representatives had invited us to come and brief them and together, they are stakeholders,” he said.

The minister said that Mr President said to the committee of Pro-Chancellors when they visited him, that he would do consultation.

He said the President had promised to do consultation as per the two requests on putting an icing on the cake on the government offer to ASUU members and the issue of resettlement fund to cushion the effect of the “no work no pay” situation they found themselves in.

“So, we will interface with the House of Representatives and all of us collectively will advise Mr. President,” the minister said.

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Cecilia Ologunagba

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