Abuja – The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, has called on the Federal Government to take measures to revivie the textile industries to boost the economy.
The Union’s General Secretary, Mr Issa Aremu, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at an Africa Union Roundtable to mark the 2015 Africa Industrialisation Day.
He said that inspite of Nigeria’s abundant natural resources with the potential to serve as catalyst for industrialisation; the country now harbours the biggest ‘industrial cemeteries.’
“Former functioning and productive industrial estates in cities like Lagos, Kaduna, Aba, Port Harcourt and Kano now harbour hundreds of industrial plants closed down with attendant millions of mass job losses.
“The restless unemployed youths that have become foot solders for dangerous forms of violence from terrorism to secession, clamouring for false republic, must be kept positively busy in the factories through decent mass employment,’’ he said.
Aremu warned that no country with a huge army of unemployed could survive social revolution.
He urged the new Minister of Industry to visit both the closed and operating factories to appreciate the task at hand.
He expressed regret that the manufacturing industry which once contributed as much as 24 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP now contributes less than four per cent.
“Industry is not competitive in Nigeria because of high cost of production which increase in the prices of products will further accentuate,” he said.
Aremu said that the collapse of crude oil price had made economic diversification a necessity.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigeria move out of the box of extractive industry.
He said that Nigeria’s industrial action plan should advocate industrial policies that recognise manufacturing as the key engine of growth.
“We must help to re-invent Nigeria Customs Service to re-invent the Nigerian economy through vibrant anti-smuggling campaigns and aggressive revenue generation,” he said.
He said that the future of Africa lies in adding value to the abundant raw materials and creation of sustainable jobs.
He added that the future of Africa is in industrialisation and transformation of raw materials.
The union scribe commended president Buhari for resisting pressure and blackmail by some marketers to remove subsidy on petroleum and increase the price of products.
“ Nigeria and indeed Africa must produce what it consumes and consume what it produces and in the process create decent jobs,” he said.
In his remarks the General Secretary, Industrial Global Union, Mr Jyrki Raina, stressed the need for individuals and companies to tax so that the accrued funds could be used to support the wages of workers. (NAN)