The Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, has stressed the need for the Federal Government not to depend heavily on oil for its budgetary plans and revenue generation.
At a news conference in Kaduna to review the activities of the government for 2013, Aremu expressed sadness that the country still relies heavily on oil as the mainstay of the economy, 53 years after her independence.
He said that it was high time the country diversified into other sectors such as automobile, food and beverages in order to sustain the economy.
“The point I want to raise is that 53 years after independence, it is sad that we still rely on crude oil. The fundamental of our budget still rely on one source of revenue which is oil. I think I want to say next year the Federal Government should redouble its effort to make sure we add value through manufacturing sector. The only way to do so is for us to do as much as possible to revive the industries, not just the textiles but the automobile, food and beverages.
“There is a report that came out last week in a business newspaper that close to 130 companies have closed down in Nigeria. So, while our government is talking of direct foreign investment coming to Nigeria, we should make the point that the domestic investment is actually dying, and you cannot create jobs if there are no industries. In fact, for us to solve the problem of unemployment is for us to add value to our natural resources and raw materials and process them into manufactured products.
“This is where I think government has taken a bold decision on the new automotive policy which is to restrict the wholesale importation of imported second hand vehicles. We hope this will give an incentive for domestic assembly plants to return to business such as Peugeot, Volkswagen, ANAMCO in Anambra”, he said.
He called on the Federal Government to redouble its effort in its industrialisation policies, adding that the only way forward is for government to revive the industries that have closed down for years.