By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ORGANISED Labour in the nationâ€™s textile industry, has warned that despite government efforts at raising the textileÂ industry revival fund from N70 billion to N100 billion or even N500 billion, there cannot be real industrial revivalÂ if theÂ 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 aÂ statement also lamented however thatÂ not much money has been disbursed and therefore the crisis of production hasÂ persisted if not worsened, stressing that the optimismÂ contained inÂ Presidentâ€™s Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s inaugural speech andÂ the 7-point Agenda ofÂ Energy Emergency, Agriculture, Wealth Generation, Transportation, Land Law Reforms, SecurityÂ 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 hugeÂ gap between expectations and service and sadly that the non-delivery gap is widening and called o the government toÂ single out namely Wealth generation, Education and Security.
The statement read in part: â€œPresident Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua rekindled hope in industrialization and reaffirmed hisÂ belief in the primacy of the industrial renaissance as an indispensable factor in poverty eradication.Â Much neededÂ hope was raised to set the economy on the path of growth via accelerated generation, transmission and distributionÂ of power nation-wide.
The reality however is that most factories inherited by the current administration have beenÂ shut down with millions of job losses.Â Nigeriaâ€™s working classes are now endangered species.Â Nigeria today is theÂ only 21st country without significant number of industrial workers because of collapse of the real sector of theÂ economy. Army of Nigeriaâ€™s youths are now vulnerable to the misguided antics of â€œreligiousâ€ and â€œpolitical socialâ€Â bigots as witnessed by the recent needless days of show of shame and bloodletting in Bauchi, Maidugiri and KanoÂ among others. Smuggling has reached its alarming rate and smugglers have now occupied the productive space NOTÂ 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.Â The few surviving industries in theÂ country are running generators on daily basis. We acknowledge that progress is being made in addressing the issue ofÂ financing through the intervention Fund.Â Even at that while the Fund is officially raised from N70 billion to N100Â billion or even N500 billion, the truth is that not much has been disbursed, such that crisis of production persist.Â But assuming financing is addressed, there cannot be real industrial revival if we do not urgently address theÂ issues of power and smuggling.â€
â€œAt a time we are talking about re-branding, some Ministers are yet to draw a distinction between their personalÂ agenda and the demand of their jobs. Ministers shamelessly out-do themselves with birthdays/wedding anniversariesÂ celebrations and daughters weddings as if they were appointed for such personal indulgences.
The Minister ofÂ Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili for instance grounded the nation recently for her daughterâ€™sÂ wedding.Â Yet re-branding Minister conspicuously was not in attendance (and without apology too!) for policyÂ dialogue on re-industrialising Nigeria held recently in Abuja.Â Ministers and public officers at the end of the dayÂ will not be judged by how they pursue their personal agenda but how they provide public services while in publicÂ offices.