Subcontracting Systems and Social Protection in the Informal Building Construction Industry in Lagos, Nigeria
Subcontracting systems are entrenched in the building construction process in Nigeria. However, the implications for informal building construction industry workers' access to social protection measures are a cause for concern. This study examined the influence of subcontracting systems on access to social protection measures by workers in the informal building construction industry in Lagos, Nigeria, based on a cross-sectional research design, agency theory and the general theory of employment. The secondary and primary data used for the study were derived from a systematic review of relevant literature, a questionnaire administered to 908 respondents and 50 key informant interviews among informal building construction workers and subcontractors. The structured questionnaire was subjected to internal and external validity; the Cronbach's Alpha reliability test of the survey stood at 0.722. Data extracted from the structured questionnaire and interviews were analysed through the use of descriptive statistics, correlational analysis and narrative analysis. Findings revealed that workers got financial and health assistance from employers and government respectively. Results also show that informal building construction workers perceived provision of social protection as inadequate. The results of Pearson Correlation indicate that subcontracting systems have an inverse and statistically significant relationship with access to free or subsidised medical care, the remedy to accident on site and pattern of savings. Therefore, subcontracting systems influenced the availability of social protection measures significantly. Based on the findings and the important roles of subcontractors in the building construction industry, it is recommended that appropriate legislative instrument should be developed to address the challenges posed by subcontracting concerning access to social protection measures in the informal building construction industry. It is also suggested that steps should be taken by the government to promote formalisation of employment in the informal sector and support community-based social insurance schemes in Nigeria.
Keywords: Building construction, Informal economy, Lagos, Social protection, Subcontracting systems.
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