African workers blame failure of public enterprises on corruption

NLC President, Wabba

NLC President, Wabba

THE revival of the African countries economies lie in curbing institutional corruption and involving governments more in economic development and continue to resist neo-liberalism that is encapsulated in privatization policies, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba has said.

Speaking Monday in Abuja at a two-day meeting of the International Trade Union Confederation-Africa (ITUC-Africa), Wabba argued that what is needed is to curb corruption which is largely promoted by the private sector to drive development agendas.

He submitted that promoting neo-liberalism policies on the continent as symbolized in privatization of public assets is anti-development and that such will retard the development of the continent where developed countries will continue to ferry huge profits out of the continent.

His explanation: “The main challenges confronting Africa are socio-economic issues. The issue of corruption, which has reduced resources needed for development in order to create jobs, is at the heart of those challenges. There is an army of large unemployed youths in almost every parts of the continent. As trade unionists, we must find the will to engage our political leaders meaningfully, interrogate the process and try to see those challenges are confronted.”

He stated that leaving governance to the private sector has proven to be counter-productive, adding, “the global economic meltdown in 2008 and 2009 started with the private sector has put to bed the theory that only proactive in looking inward for internally generated solution to their economic challenges and come up with developmental agendas that will be able to drive the process of development. In Ethiopia for instance, public service is driving the process of development. Why is the case of the rest of Africa different? The state runs the Ethiopia its airways, powers and telecommunication sector successfully. At the heart of our challenge is corruption.”

Wabba, who called on the Federal Government to summon the much-needed political will to confront the Boko Haram insurgents, decried the loss of workers to various armed conflicts on the continent.

“Armed conflicts and insurgency in Africa in particular and across the world have assumed a new dimension and no country can be said to be safe not even the most powerful. It is true insurgency has assumed a very dangerous dimension in Africa and in West Africa sub-region as well as parts of East Africa. Workers especially teachers and health, have been most affected in countries that challenges with insurgencies.

“In the context of the Nigerian situation, the problem with the north-eastern par of Nigeria where the Boko Haram is fledging is the fact that the political will to respond to the issue effectively when the problem started was not there. The absence of the political will was what actually compounded the issue. The second point is that the military at the time was not strengthened enough to confront the war. The military needed to have the capacity to respond to the issue with political backing. But I think things are changing now especially with the new Chief of Army Staff who physically took charge of the frontline leading troops for more than 50 kilometers walking on foot to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents.

This is a new paradigm in the engagement against the insurgent. This has indeed reawaken confidence in the locals who are now volunteering valuable information to the authorities on the nefarious activities of the insurgents. What is needed to wrap up the fight is political will, not only on the part of the Federal Government alone, but even within the military.”

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