News from Affiliates, NIGERIA - NLC : REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS

Keywords : Nigeria

COMRADE AYUBA WABBA, MNI, THE BUSINESS LUNCHEON FOR
MANAGING DIRECTORS/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS BY THE IKEJA
BRANCH OF MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA AT M.A.N
CENTRE COMPLEX, IKEJA, LAGOS ON THURSDAY JUNE 25, 2015.

On behalf of our National Executive Council, it is my pleasure to be
with you and also to thank you for extending invitation to us for this
event.

We are particularly happy to be with you today because of the
enormous challenges we all face in our country today as a result of the
collapse of basic infrastructures such as electricity, roads and high cost
of petroleum products. These put together are necessary factors in
production and their deficits have made manufacturing difficult,
leading to closure of not a few industries, while a lot more had to
relocate to other countries.

It is auspicious that both manufacturers and labour build a strong
alliance to step up campaigns for the revival of our economy which
can only be done through the reactivation of all infrastructures
needed for real production.

The energy sector is critical to manufacturing and any government
that is serious about reviving our economy must make the revival of
this sector a priority. The promise of jobs for the unemployed can not
be actualised until industries are revived.

The cost of production in Nigeria is too high, perhaps the highest in
the whole world. Manufacturers spend as much as N3.5 trillion
annually to run power generators for production due to the collapse
of public electricity. It is scandalous that in a country of over 160
million people, less than 3, 000 megawats of electricity is supplied to
the public. If our country must survive, as we desire, government must
confront this sector with all seriousness. The entire system must be
overhauled and rejuvenated in the interest of our economy and
people.

Apart from infrastructural decay, manufacturers are confronted with
other challenges, particularly indebtedness. While you have to borrow
to produce, majority of your corporate consumers, particularly
government are hugely indebted to some of you. The construction
industry for instance, is owed by all the three tiers of government over
N600 billion. How will the industry survive if after delivering services
they don’t get paid? How will workers salaries be paid when due, if
employers don’t get paid for their services?

Another challenge we know you face is the importation of products,
which you also produce locally. These imported products take
advantage of your deprivations in the area of infrastructures to bring
in goods, most of which are substandard and sell them cheaper than
yours. There can’t be fair competition when cost of production,
standards, environmental factors are not the same. We therefore urge
government to impose a total ban on the importation of all goods
produced by our local manufacturers.

We believe our country, with over 160 million population can be a
major manufacturing hub in Africa if our government encourage our
local manufacturers.

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, is not helping matters on the issue
of importation of banned and fake products. They should be patriotic
in their duties by protecting our people, our economy and our national
interests at all times. Our borders are too porous, and they need to
urgently defend their profession by ensuring banned and adulterated
goods don’t cross into our country.

Distinguished leaders of industries, once again we appreciate your
invitation and reaffirm our readiness to partner with you to lead the
campaign for the reactivation of our industries, but you must also
partner with us to ensure workers rights are not violated in any of
your companies as we won’t hesitate to massively picket your premises
in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Constitution of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have renewed the battle against
casualisation, contract labour and outsourcing and no company or
employer will be spared when we recommence the battle.

We are open to dialogue as always and you are free to call us for
dialogue if you have any difficulties.

Together, we must all ensure decent jobs just as we desire decent
production.

Thank you for your attention.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba mni

President

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