Breaking News
Translate

Workers lament unfriendly business environment

 By Victor Ahiuma-Young

FOR a long time, informal sector workers who constitute the greater number of workers in Nigeria, had no umbrella body to propagate, promote and defend issues affecting them.  Their activities and operations were seen  un-coordinated. All that could be a thing of the past with the birth of the Federation of Informal Workers, FIWON.
At its  maiden conference, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, where the new umbrella body was formed, the informal workers, identified poor state of physical and social infrastructure especially electricity, roads, potable water and sanitation etc  as major impediments to sustainable business growth especially cottage industries in Nigeria.

Other constraints, according to the workers included public education and healthcare facilities in Nigeria, comprehensive absence of social protection, vocational education facilities, access to business friendly credits, unfair competition through dumping of manufactured goods from more industrialized countries, lack of representation and participation in decision making processes resulting in unworkable, corruption prone public policies and programmes.
The conference which was facilitated by the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association, NATA with the Support of the Frederich Ebert Stiftung  FES,  delegates, leaders and representatives of informal workers organizations, resolved to  work assiduously to organize all informal workers in  Nigeria into formidable unions and associations sector by sector to address the specific challenges of each sector of the Nigerian informal economy.
A communique issued at the end of conference, by President and General Secretary of the newly formed FIWON, Messrs. Michael Ajayi Omonayin and  Gbenga Komolafe, respectively, noted that

“ workers in the informal sectors of the Nigerian economy constitute over 80 per cent of non-agricultural employment, 60 per cent of urban employment and over 90 per cent of new jobs in Nigeria, according to recent statistics from the Federal Ministry of Labour with an estimated population of over 65 million working people. Millions of workers in the formal sectors of the economy who lost their jobs since the 1980s when implementation of neo-liberal economic policies intensified in Nigeria, find succor only in the informal economy. Informal workers are subjected to multiple taxation, levies and other forms of extortion by government and its agencies. Informal workers work for an average of 11 hours everyday contributing almost 60% of the Gross National Product ,GNP. Government has set up all sorts of intervention agencies such as Better Life Programme, Peoples’ Bank, NAPEP, SMEDAN etc over the past two decades to ameliorate the sufferings of people toiling away in the informal economy.”

“Realizing that despite all the above, informal workers continue to suffer from the poor state of physical and social infrastructures especially electricity, roads, potable water and sanitation, public education and healthcare facilities in Nigeria, comprehensive absence of social protection, vocational education facilities, access to business friendly credits, unfair competition through dumping of manufactured goods from more industrialized countries, lack of representation and participation in decision making processes resulting in unworkable, corruption prone public policies and programmes that have abysmally failed to significantly address the basic needs of  Nigerian working people,
delegates, leaders and representatives of informal workers organizations at the conference resolved to work assiduously to organize all informal workers in  Nigeria into formidable unions and associations sector by sector to address the specific challenges of each sector of the Nigerian informal economy, to promote the newly formed Federation of Informal Workers’ Organization of Nigeria,  FIWON, as the primary negotiating and bargaining medium with Government and its agencies at all levels, the private sector on Private Voluntary Partnerships,  PVIs, local and international development agencies to promote and secure social protection, continuous vocational education and training, occupational health and safety, eradication of child labour, reduction of HIV/AIDS, access to credits on reasonable terms and representation and voice of informal workers.  Partner with industrial unions on sectoral issues and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, as well as the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, on social, political
and constitutional reforms, agitation for credible elections, resist government attempts to deregulate the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry among others.

Delegates  “unanimously call on government at all levels to directly and consciously involve representatives of informal workers in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government intervention agencies such as the National Agency for Poverty Eradication, NAPEP, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agencies,  SMEDAN, National Directorate of Employment, NDE and such other agencies.”


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.