Global union seeks provision of electricity to generate jobs
Achieving stable electricity provision in Africa would boost employment generation and reduce poverty, the Vice President of Africa Industrial global union, Issa Aremu has said.
Speaking at the 2016 Africa Industrialisation Day with the theme, ‘Back to basics: revival of basic industries and creation of sustainable employment’, Aremu hinted that the goal of the Africa IndustriALL Global Union is to ensure sustainable industrial development in key sectors of the economy for massive jobs creation in Africa.
He argued that sustainable power generation in Nigeria and Africa as a whole would reduce illegal migration to Europe and other parts of the world.
“Today is to draw awareness to the state of our energy sector, you know the story of Nigeria and how privatisation had cause us more harm than good. Nigeria electricity suffer from what we called “power poverty’’, because 180 million people are on 5000 mega watts. I am very sure even in terms of the number of Zimbabwe may be richer than Nigeria, but if Zimbabwe is generating 5000 mega watts, what is their population, their population is only 18 million.
“You can see that in terms of power per capital, small population, but relatively small generation, and this is the same with Ghana with only 27 million populations. So how can our industries work without electricity, how can we create sustainable jobs for our teeming youths who go in search of jobs in Europe and get themselves killed in the Mediterranean sea,” he said.
Aremu posited that it was time for African government to fashion out critical ideas for accelerating industrial manufacturing in order to add value to its abundance mineral resources to create employment.
He explained: “It means that rather than African countries exporting their raw materials they should try to add value to these raw materials, like instead of exporting crude oil and gas, we should process them. That is, we should refine them into one rang of product and in the process, we can create mass jobs for our people and we can also build self-reliance. The same for the iron and steel industries, we have high abundance of iron and steel raw materials but what are we doing, we are exporting them and then we are importing finished product in to the country.”
On her part, the President of Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union (ZEWU), Agenline Chitambo, said workers must rise up against government that siphoned African resources to other countries.
Chitambo said that workers must unite and ensure that governments craft implementable policies that would generate employment by investing in their countries rather than smuggling it outside the countries.
“We want to say African governments must stop, we have gold, we have diamond and we have everything but they are being smuggled out. Let us all wake up as the working class to see that we ban these lootings and smuggling of our raw materials out without using it to create jobs. African governments must come together and fashion out ways of utilising their own raw materials to finished products with stable power generation to build a better Africa,” she said.
The President of Ghana Miners Workers Union, Kwarko Gyakari, insisted that the Africa continent is blessed with natural resource but lacked the capacity to develop raw materials into finished products, which has deprived the continent huge resources and capital flight.
“We do not have refineries in Africa that can refine our products; all these raw materials are exported, which is not good for our continent. I want to say that Ghana and Nigeria are like twins, whatever happens in Nigeria will find its way to Ghana, so we have similar issues. So electricity, just like in Nigeria is the same thing and this is very key to industrialisation as every job in manufacturing is estimated to create at least two more jobs in other sector. Indeed, without electricity, there is no manufacturing.”
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