Decent work – A sine qua non for economic growth

Work placeThe concept “decent work”, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration coupled with active participation in decisions that affect lives. The capacity of an economy to produce goods and services which will in turn aid the achievement of fair globalization and reduction in poverty levels can only be made possible through productive employment and decent work.

In many parts of the globe, merely having a job does not guarantee the ability to escape poverty. This is founded on UN findings that nearly 2.2 billion people live below the US$2 poverty line despite the fact that only about 202 million of the world`s population are unemployed. The lack of decent jobs lead people to turn to informal employment which is characterized by low production, low pay and no social protection. This however raises the concern on availability of quality jobs which in turn should translate to decent work.

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 which is geared towards promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; is meant to set a new path to economic growth and development for a country like Nigeria with 112.519 million people living in poverty conditions and over 20 million people without jobs.

The 17 sustainable goals and 169 targets adopted by the United Nations member States are to be met by 2030. The targets for goal 8 includes among others: sustaining per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances; achieving higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation; promoting development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation; achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men including for young people and persons with disabilities; substantially reducing the proportion of youths not in employment, education or training; eradication of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking; devising and implementing policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promote local cultures and products etc. are to achieved over the next 15 years.

For a timely achievement of the targets of the goal 8, there is a need for well-functioning and transparent institutions that effectively protect properties rights, reduce red-tape, combat corruption and keep nepotism in check are essential. Putting this in place will help create stable and predictable business environment that would encourage investment, create jobs and encourage the production of higher value goods and services in the country.

Both the government and the private sector should provide decent work and a decent work environment for optimal productivity that will stimulate economic growth. No doubt, decent work is a sine qua non for economic growth.                                                                                 Written by Solomon Oduneye (An intern)