BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
Organized Labour in the nation’s Food and Beverage sector has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to put in place local content policy in all the sectors of the economy. This will be in line with what has been done in the Petroleum industry to checkmate expatriate quota abuse and create more job opportunities for Nigerians.
Under the aegis of the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees, NUFBTE, labour also urged President Jonathan to find urgent solution to harsh business environment in the country
President of NUFBTE, Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, in an interview argued that enthronement of local content was the practice in other African countries and most emerging economies.
According to him, “There is no doubt that our industry like other sectors of the economy is really under the weight of harsh operating environment. We call on both the federal and state governments to provide conducive environments for business to flourish. We have lost not less than 2,000 members to retrenchments just less than one year ago because of unfavourable environment, according to our employers.
President Jonathan should known that Nigerians did not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the Presidential election, but him as a person. The President should try all that is possible to ensure he does not betray the confidence, but try to satisfy the needs of the masses. Nigerians need stable power supply, they need jobs, they need infrastructures, functional and affordable public transport system like railways, Nigerians need good road networks, hospitals, quality schools and others that can guarantee minimum standard of living.”
“We will want the government from May 29 to address the issue of expatriate quota abuse once and for all. Like it was done in the Petroleum industry, we call on President Jonathan to extend the local content policy to other sectors of the nation’s economy not only to address the alarming rate of expatriate quota abuse in the country but also to create more job opportunities for Nigerians. We are also using this opportunity to plead with the President, now that elections are over, to reconsider and re-ban import of beverages and other consumables that were recently unbanned in the interest of local industries and employment.
“Nigeria has the capacities to satisfy not only local demands, but supply neighbouring countries if the right inducement and environment are provided. Of serious concern to us as an organisation, is the wanton abuse of labour laws and workers’ rights by both indigenous and foreign employers in the country. Labour laws should be enforced by all relevant government agencies to arrest the abuse of workers’ rights and check increasing slavery in the employment policy especially casualisation, outsourcing and contract staffing of workers.”