By Funmi Komolafe & Daniel Emeribe
LAGOSâ€”Captains of industry on the platform of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, yesterday complained that the inability of government to provide regular electricity hasÂ crippled the real sector of theÂ economy.
NECAâ€™s outgoing president, Mr. Sam Ohuabunwa , at NECAâ€™s 53rd annual general meeting in Lagos, scored the economy low in 2009.
He said: â€œThe inability of the government to provide answers to the perennial and seemingly intractable problem of electricity supply has continued to take a huge toll on the economy.â€
In Abuja, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, cautioned the government against any increase in electricity tariff,Â insisting that it was not only unacceptable but will further impoverish the majority of Nigerians and further cripple the industries.
NLC’sÂ General Secretary, Mr. John Odah, said, â€œThe increment, if allowed to be implemented, is certainly a death sentence to the very few industries still operating in the country, most fundamentally, our fragile but active small and medium business enterprises which today form the backbone of our economy.â€
Government, represented by the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, however, expressed its determination to boost job opportunities in the informal sector even as it warned private employers against unfair labour practices and discrimination against albinos and People Living with HIV/ AIDS.
The minister, who was at NECAâ€™s 53rd annual general meeting in Lagos said , â€œ my ministry is facilitating creation of employment in the information sector and communities through the activities of the National Directorate of Employment ( NDE)â€.
On the economy, NECAâ€™s out going president, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa noted that the real sectorÂ has continued to diminish â€œ as more and more businesses are closing shops by the dayâ€.
He noted thatÂ â€œ the moderate growth in the economy did not translate into any significant improvement in the welfare of the people.Â The queues of job seekers are becoming longerâ€.
The NLC on its part, called on all Nigerians to â€œ oppose and protest any move to implement the policy in its entirety because it will worsen the situation of the countryâ€™s manufacturing sector as well as further impoverish Nigerians and increase the countryâ€™s labour and employment crisisâ€.
It therefore called on President Goodluck Jonathan to â€œ immediately reverse this ill-advised policy. Rather, he should, as the man directly in charge of the Power Sector, focus his attention on how to deliver on the promises of improving power generation and supplyâ€.
Labour minister, Chief Emeka WoguÂ warned employers in the construction industry to stop conveying their employees in trucks.
He said, â€œ I consider such an act as degrading, an abuse of human dignity and against international conventionsâ€.
The minister said, his ministry has begun â€œ the process of articulating a policy and legal framework to stop this unfair practice and to ensure safety in the construction sectorâ€.