Employers’ federation seeks public, private collaboration to develop human capital

By Gloria Nwafor

Employers in the chemical sector, under the aegis of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employers Federation (CANMPEF), have said the private and public sectors have roles to play to sustain peace through the promotion of knowledge, development of human capital and promotion of social cohesion.

Executive secretary of CANMPEF, Femi Oke, said this at the 30th Industrial Relations Seminar of the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE) in Ibadan, Oyo State, with the theme ‘Sustaining Industrial Peace and Harmony in an Era of Socio-economic and Political Instability in Nigeria.’

As the general elections draw close, he said the government needed to strengthen administrative machinery to deliver on its obligation to the populace.

He said the government should target its economic policies toward scaling up local production and efficiency with an impact on quantitative and qualitative improvements, as well as impose strict compliance with Executive Order (003) across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to stimulate more patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods.

For the industrial sector, Oke advised that the federation and national union should collaborate and step up advocacy with the federal and state government to make the business environment easy for manufacturing companies to operate and survive.

According to him, the cost of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike on the economy, transcends both human resources and economic loss.

The number of youth workforce migration to other climes in search for greener pastures is at an all-time; thus, creating short and long-term talent draught that our industries require to reposition itself and compete favourably in the new continental market (AfCFTA),” he said.

He decried the multifarious challenges in the country, stating that they are fostering social unrest and suffocating industrial and business activities in the country.

On the way out, the CANMPEF boss called for a detailed approach that combines the use of fiscal and monetary policies that should provide answers to short and long-term measures that should be in place to address the looming recession.

Others, he said, include, “How Nigeria can leverage its available resources to achieve maximum output, commencing with food security and healthcare needs?

“What sectors of the productive economy have shown the most resilience since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and what can be done to further support its growth?”

Chemical workers decry state of economy

Task FG to provide palliative measures for manufactures, workers, others

Workers in the chemical sector of the country have decried the appalling state of Nigeria’s economy, which they said was impacting negatively on all areas of the national development.

This is even as they have called on the Federal Government to come up with palliative measures to cushion the adverse effects of economic instability on manufacturers, Nigerian workers and the general masses.

The workers, under the umbrella of the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), warned that failure may aggravate civil unrest and crime rate, while several people will die of hunger and ill health.

President of NUCFRLANMPE, Goke Olatunji, speaking at the 30th edition of annual nationwide industrial relations seminar of the union held in Ibadan, Oyo State, lamented that the present economic situation of the nation was worrisome and impacting negatively on the welfare of the citizenry.

Reflecting on the theme of the seminar “Sustaining Industrial Peace and Harmony in an era of socio-economic and political instability”, Olatunji harped that the unprecedented and untold hardship which Nigerians are suffering from, without any immediate hope for better time leaves much to be desired.

According to him, the theme was well thought of as nobody knows the next thing that will happen in Nigeria.

“The Economy is greatly in comatose; unfortunately the technocrats who can turn the situation around are left out while misfit people occupy critical positions in the affairs of our country. “There is no clearly defined economic policy both fiscal and monetary to salvage the situation because the people at the helm of affairs have allowed sentiments and nepotism to becloud their sense of reasoning thereby jettisoning what ought to be done,” he said.

He noted that it is only in Nigeria that the governor of the apex bank, the Central Bank will be conspicuous in the political activity of the country and there would be no consequence after all.

Expressing the effect on the manufacturers presently groaning seriously because of overhead cost that has constituted a great block to operational efficiency and effectiveness,

The NUCFRLANMPE President charged the government to rise up to the occasion of making manufacturing thrive as the real sector of the economy holds the key for growing the country’s Gross Domestic Products.

He said, “Inflation rate stands at double digits which are in direct relationship with Interest rate.

“Power supply is far below what is consumed in Nigeria and Manufacturing activities largely depend on power. It is equally worrisome that the electricity tariff has gone up, but the power supply has not increased. The worst is that the alternative source of power- gas and fuel- are not easy to come by as their prices have soared higher than bearable. Beyond the reach of both the rich and common man. In present Nigeria, the rich also cry!

Nigeria is not working at all.”

He reflected further on the poor state of infrastructure, medical, education with universities under closure for over six months describing such as height of callousness and untold insensitivity. 

Condemning the policy makers present preoccupation with politics and politicking, with the worsen insecurity, the labour leaders opined that the hope of the working class now is that the economy will get better after the general elections of 2023.

“The impact of the crumbled economy on our Union is enormous. It has led to a drastic loss of membership. The Union that used to boast of about 30,000 members some years back cannot boast of 10,000 workers across the country.

“Without sounding apolitical, I appeal to all our Comrades to get their PVC and vote for a better candidate who can bring back the good fortune of this country, at least there was a country, says Chinua Achebe. We have our Labour Party, and from our Central Labour Centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), we have the marching order that we should mobilize our members. Workers’ vote must count in 2023,” he said.

Insisting further on palliative, Olatunji said this may be to increase public expenditure for provision of infrastructural amenities, fuel subsidization, and relaxing FOREX policy such that the bottlenecks in accessing it is drastically reduced for manufacturing companies and other genuine businesses.

“There should be a sincere peace pact amongst diverse interests and leanings in Nigeria so as to resolve whatever differences responsible for civil crisis and unrest in the country while adequate power generation, diversification of economy, provision of infrastructures can be surest ways of creating employment for the army of idle Nigerian youths,” he stressed.

FG must pay striking lecturers – NLC

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has promised continued support for striking university lecturers to ensure all their wages are paid contrary to the Federal Government position on ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy.

NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, who spoke at the 30th National Industrial Training of the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non Metallic Employees in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday, warned the Federal Government not to make the lecturers feel unwanted.

“There would be no basis for a six-month strike if not for the shamelessness of leadership. And you have two ministers speaking from both sides of their mouths…

“In 2012, same minister of education, Adamu Adamu praised Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) under former president, Goodluck Jonathan, during their strike then, now he wants ASUU (members) arrested and jailed. We should look at what started the problem rather than flaunting the policy of ‘No Work, No Pay.”

The NLC scribe said work for teachers in the universities, according to their letter of employment, are in three folds – teaching, research and community services – maintaining that the lecturers despite being on strike have been performing the two other roles, hence deserve their wages contrary to what government want the public to understand.

“There cannot be an employer without an employee. Dialogue is key here. If government wants to insist on ‘no work, no pay’, then let them keep their money and workers keep their knowledge. Solely for us, it is not a matter of legality, but that of humanity.”

He lamented that Nigeria has continued on the downward journey due to the selfishness of the political class, insisting that Nigerians need courage, commitment and opportunity to rebuild the country.

“If you vote on tribal sentiment, we will continue to suffer what we have been facing. Villa is a place for serious business not a place for grand parents.”

Ugboaja took a swipe at the government for blaming part of the country’s economic woes on subsidy payment.

“What they are doing is stealing, not subsidy and we will continue to resist efforts to increase prices of petroleum. You cannot have crude oil in Nigeria and base it on importation. Nobody should believe the crap on subsidy that they are stealing, it has nothing to do with price increase. There is no subsidy on diesel, kerosene, yet their prices have skyrocketed.”

The NLC scribe said the position of labour is to have a president who would refine petroleum products at home as well as have a good understanding of what minimum wage means to workers.

“The NLC, last December, had taken position on what we will do in 2023. The election will be free and fair and we will win the election under Labour Party and Peter Obi is our flag bearer,” he said.

It also vowed to take Nigeria back from the grips of the present political class in 2023.

Earlier, Femi  Adekunle, chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council of the chemical sector, called on the Federal Government to use the money being expended on subsidising petrol every year to revitalise the educational sector.

“If you fail to take care of your education, you are indirectly breeding criminals. N1.3 trillion is what government said it’s using to subsidise fuel every year while N1.2 trillion is needed to revitalise education,” he said.

NUCFRLANMPE - National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-metallic Products Employees emerged as a result of the merger of two trade unions - National union of Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employees otherwise known as NUCANMPE and Footwear Rubber and Leather Union otherwise known as FLR in 1996. The merger of the trade unions In Nigeria which resulted in pruning down of Trade union organizations from 42 to 29 was at the instance of a Decree 4 1996 of Federal Government of Nigeria.

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