Labour leader wants local production of 41 banned items

Issa Aremu

Issa Aremu

Leading labour leader, Issa Aremu has urged the Federal Government to convoke a meeting with manufacturers of the 41 banned items with a view to producing these locally.

The labour leader hailed the spirited efforts of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele to defend the Naira through stringent control measures.He argued that the ban on 41 items was necessary for import substitution.

Comrade Aremu was commenting on the recently released Quarterly National Accounts (QNA) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at a CBN interactive session with stakeholders at the weekend.Aremu however, criticised the current policy of CBN on high interest rate, calling it “anti-production.” He urged the CBN to reconsider its current monetary policy rate, which puts interest rate at double digits.

He added that Nigeria couldn’t run a successful productive value economy with the current high cost of funds caused by high interest rates.Said he: “The good job CBN is doing through its interventionist measures in some key sectors of the nation’s economy would be undermined if the interest rate is not properly managed.

“CBN must target capacity utilization and employment as much as it targets inflation in its monetary policy,” he maintained.According to him, the smartest way to re-inflate the economy is through wage increase, linked with productivity improvement and prompt payment of existing salaries by states and local governments

He stressed that President Buhari must urgently constitute the tripartite committee on review of the current national minimum wage.”Nigerian workers, he said have long been in depression, while observing that with Naira devaluation and inflation, the negotiated minimum wage of N18, 000, which was about $120 in 2010, has fallen to $42 in 2016.

Aremu observed, “All Nigerians regardless of their callings are dammed by the data on rising inflation, double-digit interest rates, factory closures and general underdevelopment,” pointing out that Nigerians must collectively confront underdevelopment instead of giving excuses and blaming each other regarding the economic recession.

The labour leader said Nigeria has, for so long, failed to plan, making the country “perpetually preparing to fail.”He insisted that it was high time the National Planning Commission (NPC) was replaced by functional federal ministry of planning to ensure implementation of all policy recommendations.

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