By Victor Ahiumayoung
LAGOS—NATIONAL Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, has said members and allies would only vote for candidates committed to sustainable industrial development and revival of industries in the 2019 general elections.
This came as labour called on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency in the power sector to enhance production of goods and services in the country.
Speaking at the activities marking the NUTGTWN’s 40th anniversary and 30th national education conference of the union, its General Secretary, Mr. Issa Aremu, said: “In 2019 elections, textile workers and indeed organised labour will only vote for candidates that are committed to sustainable industrial development and revival of industries.
“It does not matter whether it is first, second, third or the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Nigerians must make what we wear, create jobs, save foreign exchange on imports. Nigeria must stop exporting raw cottons, crude oil, mineral resources, gold and diamond only to be importing finished goods from China, Europe and America.”
… on electricity
On power, he urged the Federal Government to come up with workable policies to ensure adequate supply of electricity in the country, contending that poor electricity supply mainly contributed to the collapse of industrial sector, particularly the textile industry, besides smuggling and dumping.
According to Aremu, who is also the Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union, African region, “in 1983, Nigeria’s textile industry became the largest employer of labour in West Africa with over 200 companies.
“Today, many factories have closed with less than 40 in operation. In the peak of the boom, the industry employed more than 500,000 direct workers. But today it has less than 60,000 workers.”
On his part, pioneer President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Alhaji Hassan Sumonu, in his goodwill message, said it would be difficult for the country to industrialise if it continued to produce about seven thousand mega watts of electricity.
Also, Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Mr. Segun Oshinowo, said it is only good governance that can address poverty and not collective bargaining alone.