By Victor Ahiuma- Young
Owerri—ORGANISED Labour yesterday called on the Federal Government to devise a more progressive approach to addressing the agitation of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and other militant groups in the country.
Speaking through the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, NUCFRLANMPE, at the ongoing five-day seminar in Owerri, Imo State, on industrial relation issues, labour urged the government to down play the use of force.
The theme of the seminar is ‘’Redefining Industrial Relations for the Sustenance of Chemical and Non-metallic sector in an era of economic instability’’.
Addressing participants, President of NUCFRLANMPE, Mr Boniface Isok, said: “Government should find a better approach of addressing the yearnings of the Niger Delta militants, including the Avengers, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Boko Haram group with a view of addressing their grievances in a more peaceful manner rather than force.”
He equally called on the Federal Government to evolve local strategy in solving the challenges facing the country, contending that, foreign policies could not adequately address the challenges in the country.
Isok noted that it was imperative for government to analyse the country’s peculiar challenges with a view to solving them, lamenting that one of the problems affecting the nation at present was the massive importation of poor quality and cheaper consumable goods.
According to him: “This creates stiff competition for the locally produced goods. The practice affects the health and well-being of the consumers and reduces the Gross Domestic product of the country. The government should take a decision to ensure the regulation and restraining of the influx of foreign goods into the country.”
He pleaded with government to immediately diversify the nation’s economy from oil to agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing to ensure the rapid growth and development of the economy.
The President of NUCFRLANMPE said manufacturing sector was at its lowest ebb because of lack of access to foreign exchange to procure raw materials for production, saying ‘’To make matters worse, epileptic power supply, non availability of gas and fuel, infrastructural amenities, insecurities and problems that must be tackled.’’
He added that it was regrettable that the problem had led to massive retrenchment of workers, and upsurge in casualisation of workers and other unfair practices.
On his part, Mr. Olorunfemi Oke, Executives Secretary, Chemical and Nonmetallic Products Employers Federation, CANMPEF, decried the state of the economy, saying it was negatively affecting both the employers and employees.
According to him, the economy had continue to contract especially with the negative forecast by International Monetary Fund, IMF, which was collaborated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which had potential to negatively impact on employment relations.