• Friday, May 24, 2024
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NLC urges FG to tackle unemployment, insecurity

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to urgently tackle the unemployment rate in the country.

The national president of NLC, Abdulwaheeed Omar, made the call at the Centenary May Day celebration in Abuja.

He said that the country was faced with a monumental unemployment problem, adding that the official statistics put the national unemployment rate at approximately 24 percent.

“The unemployment rate among the youth has been put at 37.7 percent.

“Some estimates actually suggest that the figure is over 50 percent but whichever way we look at it, it is obvious that we are facing an unemployment time bomb in our nation.

“As high as this rate is, it nevertheless camouflages the enormity of the unemployment crisis in the country.

“If underemployment and disguised unemployment were to be added to the figure, the monumental crisis will become more glaring”, Omar said.

The NLC boss said the Federal Government should urgently initiate measures to revive and protect labour-intensive industries like textile, food and beverages, construction, iron and steel sectors.

The congress commended the government for initiating the textile revival fund, stressing that the mid-term assessment of the impact of the long term fund at single digit interest rate had been positive.

He said that the United Nigeria Textile Plc (UNTL) Kaduna, the largest textile mill that had hitherto closed down in 2007, had reopened with direct jobs of 1,500 workers with prospect of further expansion.

Omar explained that an analysis of the disaggregate unemployment data showed that the youth had the greatest brunt of the unemployment problem.

He called for a decisive intervention to rein in the unemployment problem, adding that signals of strife and insecurity today were warning banners that could not be ignored.

“To overcome the problem of unemployment, Nigeria must promote strong industrial policies that recognise manufacturing as a key engine of growth and decent mass employment for the national economy”, he said.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday in Abuja called on organised labour to complement Federal Government’s efforts in fighting corruption in the country.

Jonathan, who made the call at the Centenary May Day 2013 held at Eagle Square, noted that perpetrators of corruption are senior and junior members of labour unions.

He called on the labour unions to organise a peer review programme with the objective of checking corruption and corrupt tendencies.

The president said such a programme would complement several efforts of the government in fighting the menace.

“Labour has been in the forefront of demanding for good governance and increased actions against corruption, and these issues are being vigorously tackled on various fronts.

“Prosecutions are being pursued in matters arising from fuel subsidy fraud, embezzlement of pension funds and other serious long-standing malpractices which have been demystified by this administration.

“Giving that some of these perpetrators are senior and junior members of labour unions, greater attention to peer review actions on the part of labour will be much appreciated”, he said.

Jonathan said the administration was leaving no stone unturned to upgrade the welfare of workers both in the private and public sectors.

“There is also a policy framework in place that will facilitate better relations between employers of labour and the government”, he said.

Jonathan called on labour to support government’s transformation agenda, which he said was geared toward creating jobs and wealth, and ensuring a better deal for Nigerians.

He said government was committed to creating a politically stable environment in which economic activities would flourish.

The president said the valuable contributions and sacrifices of the organised labour had assisted the government to achieve significant reforms in all sectors.

He assured that government would continue to associate with the labour unions as they continue to play their roles in the nation-building process.  extolled “the resilience and contributions of past labour leaders like Pa Michael Imodu and Pascal Bayfau, both of blessed memory”.

 

JOSHUA BASSEY,

TONY AILEMEN &

TEDDY NWANUNOBI, Abuja