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Smuggling, power failure threat to textile industry revival, Labour warns

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ORGANISED Labour in the nation’s textile industry, has warned that despite government efforts at raising the textile industry revival fund from N70 billion to N100 billion or even N500 billion, there cannot be real industrial revival if the  issues of power and smuggling are not urgently addressed..

Under the umbrella of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), in a statement also lamented however that  not much money has been disbursed and therefore the crisis of production has persisted if not worsened, stressing that the optimism  contained in  President’s Yar’Adua’s inaugural speech and the 7-point Agenda of  Energy Emergency, Agriculture, Wealth Generation, Transportation, Land Law Reforms, Security and Poverty Eradication through Education, is yet to be translated into reality.

The union in the statement issued by its General Secretary, Comrade Issa Aremu, argued that there is still a huge gap between expectations and service and sadly that the non-delivery gap is widening and called o the government to single out namely Wealth generation, Education and Security.
The statement read in part: “President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua rekindled hope in industrialization and reaffirmed his belief in the primacy of the industrial renaissance as an indispensable factor in poverty eradication.

Much needed hope was raised to set the economy on the path of growth via accelerated generation, transmission and distribution of power nation-wide.  The reality however is that most factories inherited by the current administration have been shut down with millions of job losses.

Nigeria’s working classes are now endangered species.  Nigeria today is the only 21st country without significant number of industrial workers because of collapse of the real sector of the economy.

Army of Nigeria’s youths are now vulnerable to the misguided antics of “religious” and “political social” bigots as witnessed by the recent needless days of show of shame and bloodletting in Bauchi, Maidugiri and Kano among others. Smuggling has reached its alarming rate and smugglers have now occupied the productive space NOT producers and domestic investors. Power supply has also gone from bad to worse.  Close to December, no sign of the promised 6000 megawatts of electricity.

The few surviving industries in the country are running generators on daily basis. We acknowledge that progress is being made in addressing the issue of financing through the intervention Fund.

Even at that while the Fund is officially raised from N70 billion to N100 billion or even N500 billion, the truth is that not much has been disbursed, such that crisis of production persist. But assuming financing is addressed, there cannot be real industrial revival if we do not urgently address the issues of power and smuggling.”

“At a time we are talking about re-branding, some Ministers are yet to draw a distinction between their personal agenda and the demand of their jobs. Ministers shamelessly out-do themselves with birthdays/wedding anniversaries celebrations and daughters weddings as if they were appointed for such personal indulgences.

The Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili for instance grounded the nation recently for her daughter’s wedding.
Yet re-branding Minister conspicuously was not in attendance (and without apology too!) for policy dialogue on re-industrialising Nigeria held recently in Abuja.

Ministers and public officers at the end of the day will not be judged by how they pursue their personal agenda but how they provide public services while in public offices.

It is NOT how many of their children married out that matter but how many daughters and sons of helpless Nigerian parents they provide sustainable jobs and make marri able.

There must be an end to official hypocrisy in which Ministers claim to pursue public good but further openly and immodestly pursue their personal agenda.

Forces of smuggling are still at work.  Customs men and women look the other way while smugglers are at work.
The recent abrupt cancellation of the second leg of the public hearing by the Senate Committee on Industry on account of intimidation and harassment of some ubiquitous forces shows that Senator David Mark led Senate is under undue pressure of smugglers.


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