Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday announced the approval of 10 hectares of land in Idera, Ibeju Lekki, and Badagry for workers’ housing schemes.
The announcement came on the heels of the International Workers’ Day.
Mr Sanwo-Olu handed over the title documents to chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at an elaborate event organised to commemorate the day.
The event, with the theme “COVID-19 Pandemic, Social and Economic Crises: Challenges for Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples’ Welfare”, was held at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in the heart of Lagos.
The two housing schemes will be built by the labour unions with funds from Federal Mortgage Bank. The ministry of housing will supervise the project.
Also, the labour unions will now have a befitting secretariat to aid their operations, the governor said. The secretariat, Sanwo-Olu promised, would be ready before next year’s May Day.
Sanwo-Olu said a productive workforce remained the backbone of a prosperous society, pointing out that Lagos workers are important stakeholders in the growth of the state’s economy and they deserve more than just an increment in the minimum wage.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration, in the last 12 months, had initiated welfare programmes specifically targeted at improving workers’ welfare and helping them to stabilise their livelihoods, following the economic disruption occasioned by spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the State.
He said: “Today, I am handing over 10 hectares of land to organised labour unions in Lagos State to het mortgage scheme and build a housing estate for workers. The title documents to lands have been approved and I am happy to hand them over to the leaders of the labour unions at this occasion. This intervention is part of our interventions to reduce burden on our workers whose means of livelihood have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past year, we took a major step in promoting workers’ welfare by revising the 2020 Budget to accommodate the social and economic impact of COVID-19, and to prioritise spending and investment that fulfilled the two primary goals of keeping our people alive and helping them sustain their livelihoods.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we asked most of our civil servants to stay at home and work from there. I am proud to say that we did not lay off workers, despite the economic recession that accompanied the pandemic and the downward review of the state’s 2020 budget. We strengthened our social safety net to prevent a widespread loss of jobs, which would have led to a reversal of the progress we have made in the reduction of poverty.”
The governor also donated official vehicles to the NLC and TUC chairmen to assist them in running the unions.