The General Secretary of the National Union of Textiles, Garment and Tailoring Workers and Vice President Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Isa Aremu has called on the Federal Government to re-industrialise the country and stop massive importation of finished products that are supposed to be manufactured locally.
Addressing workers who converged at the Textile Labour House in Kaduna to commemorate the independence anniversary, Aremu said that the share of industry and agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product growth is lower than it was in 1960 and 1970 when industry was the key determinant of GDP growth. .
He averred that colonialism undermined the growth and development of domestic industries through a deliberate policy of import and blatant indifference to local efforts to promote indigenous enterprises. Aremu further stressed that the post-independence administrations in the country must make a difference in order not to make colonialism attractive.
He emphasised that government must put appropriate industrial policy in place and stop smuggling of illegal products to enable the industrial sector grow again.
He also advised the Federal Government to settle all labour issues with the electricity workers of the former Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for any reform in the power sector to be effective.
On the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the NLC vice President asked the government to implement existing labour laws by ensuring that all parties in the dispute must abide by the principle of collective bargaining such as respecting sanctity of agreements and negotiating in good faith and without duress.
While stating that there is course to celebrate 53 years of the country’s independence, in spite of the numerous challenges, the labour leader criticised the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to waste public funds to mark 100 years centenary, arguing that the government should drop the thoughts of centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation celebration plans.
He said the amalgamation’s bond, both in legal and political context was full of exploitation against Nigerians and therefore was not worth celebrating.