President, IndustriALL Global Union Africa, Comrade Issa Aremu, has urged Nigerian government to stop giving money to non performing privatised electricity distribution companies in the country.
While speaking at the 2017 Africa Industrialisation Day in Abuja, Comrade Aremu said the drive for industrialisation of the African continent will amount to nothing without electricity.
The union leader further challenged African government to ensure massive investment in energy such as hydro, solar and nuclear to drive industrialisation of the continent.
He said it was commendable that many African countries had put in place robust documents and policies on industrialisation and diversification, but lamented that capacity utilisation is still very low with few existing industries closing down with mass job losses.
Aremu who is also the General Secretary of National Union of Textile and Garment Workers, tasked major industrial players in South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana! Zimbabwe, Sudan to walk/work the policies and add value to the continent abundant raw materials.
While commending federal government for launching the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the labour leader expressed optimism that with the existing National Industrial Revolution Plan, the Plan can promote revival of industries and creation of mass decent jobs.
Aremu further said there are quite a number of commendable initiatives by African governments in promoting wealth generation and reviving the industry, such as Buy-Africa campaign in South Africa and Buy Made-in-Nigeria campaign.
He said, as part of such initiatives, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has asigned three unprecedented Executive Orders mandating government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods and services.
These orders would help in the recovery of many factories in Nigeria
He commended the Edo states government for establishing industrial parks as part of the industrialization drive, as well as the Sokoto and Cross River States for initiating the setting up of garment factories.
The global body resolved to develop a Sustainable Industrial Policy on Digitalization and Industry 4.0 and to campaign against any transformation that does not further the much needed social justice and include a Just Transition for affected workers.
It however said “the sustainable industrial policy must be based on an assessment of how to steer towards a destination we desire as a society, rather than a destination that is favourable to only a few,” while asking for a future of work that embraces the positive impacts that Industry 4.0 may bring for all of society while making sure that workers aren’t left to pay the social debts of companies, with governments unwilling to make this transition socially responsible.
He demanded that the benefits of digitalisation and advanced technologies should be to all; employers and governments, and workers, and to society at large.
“We must make technology work for us and not simply allow Industry 4.0 to define a new wave of intensified work and more precarious work.”
Aremu insisted that “whatever forms of Industrialisation, 1st or fourth industrial revolution, there must be decent sustainable jobs for the workers with job security, living wages and living pensions.
“Businesses and owners of capital are employing robots, Machines and computers to replace workers in order to maximise profits and lower wages or even deny pay all together. Yes technology makes work easier, but they also could lead to job losses.”
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