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Labour leader tasks African governments over rapid industrialisation drive

By Saxone Akhaine, Northern Bureau Chief   |   13 October 2016   |   2:32 am
Issa Aremu

Issa Aremu

The General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Issa Aremu has advocated a policy direction that will aid the rapid industrialization of the African continent.

Aremu stated this would serve as way of creating quality, sustainable jobs, and lifting African people out of poverty.

He stated this after he was elected Vice President of the Industrial Global Union at the second world congress of the global union, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In a statement issued in Kaduna, observed that while Africa is a wealthy continent, blessed with abundance of raw materials, he regretted that its peoples do not profit from this, saying, “value is added further up the supply chain through wholesale exportation of raw materials and importation of finished items”.

Aremu, whose constituency, the textile sector had witnessed a dip in recent times due to negative impact of trade liberalization, cited Nigeria as ‘a classic case’ where “crude oil is exported, while refined petroleum products are imported, in the process jobs are exported in a country with 50 per cent unemployment.”

Besides, the Labour leader identified absence of sustainable comprehensive industrial policy as the bane of African development, adding that Africa needed infrastructure – effective transport and communication networks, reliable electricity supplies and a transparent regulatory framework for it to add value to its natural resources through industrialization.

He also urged African delegates to be inspired and energized by IndustriALL’s goal of ensuring sustainable industrial development and, “accordingly engage government and employers on industrial policy issues for urgent beneficiation and value addition in Africa.”

Over 1,500 delegates drawn from 600 affiliate unions from more than 100 countries gathered at the IndustriALL Global Union Congress, which held from 3rd to 7th October, 2016.

A former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, the Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder and Sharan Burrow, the Secretary General of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), addressed the Congress.

Until his new position as Vice President representing Africa, Aremu was a member of the Executive Council of the movement as well as the Chairman of the Sub Saharan Africa region.

The global union in the past years on the continent campaigned against precarious work and sustainable industrial policies the highpoint of which is annual observance of Africa Industrialization Day November 20th as declared by United Nations Assembly.

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