Aremu urges FG to speed up industrial growth
Raises fresh concern over massive retrenchment of workers
The Vice President of IndustriAll Global Union, Africa, Comrade Issa Aremu has urged the Federal Government to accelerate industrial growth, saying it will put Nigeria on the path of development and eradicate poverty.
Aremu, at a press conference yesterday, to herald the celebration of Africa Industrialisation Day (AID), explained that the commemoration as declared by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), is an annual platform for governments, businesses and organized labour linked to industrial
development, to examine ways and means to stimulate Africa industrialization process.
Warning stakeholders to take the issues of industrial development more serious and pertinent, he said: “industrialization and industrial policies as well as national development are too important to be left to governments and businesses alone,” pointing out that “indeed promoting sustainable industrial policy is one of the critical success goals of our global union.”
According to the labour leader, “industry is a key driver of sustainable jobs and development for national economies and the foundation of good living standards.
“We must stop exporting raw cottons, crude oil, mineral resources, gold and diamond only to be importing finished goods from China, Europe and America. It does not matter whether it is small or medium scale enterprises, Africa must consume products it produce not imported or smuggled as it is the case in Nigeria.”
He said UNIDO, “over the years had shown that manufacturing industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) lags behind other developing
regions in almost all measures of economic development.”
According to Aremu: “there are three leading economies in Africa, Nigeria, worth some $406 billion, Egypt $332.3 billion and South Africa $294.1billion. However in terms of manufacturing value added, South Africa at 25 per cent, Egypt at 20 per cent are ahead of Nigeria with less than five per cent. Ghana is even more industrialized at six per cent manufacturing value added (MVA).
Aremu also expressed worry over the increasing spate of retrenchment of workers in African countries as a result of digitization.
The global union lamented that businesses owners are employing robots, machines and computers to replace workers in order to maximize profits and lower wages or deny workers their pay.
They maintained that the fourth industrial revolution in the African continent is a call for the need to develop skills and know-how of workers to work with digital Itechnologies.
Condemning the massive sack of teachers by the Kaduna state government, he proffered that what the state government could have done was to retrain the workers as this would help maintain dignity of labour and reduce unemployment.
Stressing the need for African government to work the talk, the group condemned the hiring of Malaysian experts by the Federal Ministry of budget and planning for setting up of labs at the cost of $1.5million despite the availability of the experts in the country and the African continent in general.
Aremu stressed that there should be education and re-training of workers and employers and government should not criminalize skills gaps as a result of digitalization.
He also harped on the need for unions to be united and avoid divisions so as to collectively demand for the training of workers to meet up with industrialization.
The IGU Vice president stressed that workers must be trained for jobs of the future, noting that unions take stock of digitization and develop themselves to know things that machines cannot do.
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