President of IndustriALL Global Union Africa, Comrade Issa Aremu said on Monday that the Nigerian government must stop giving money to non-performing privatized electricity distribution companies in the country, saying the drive for industrialization of the African continent will amount to nothing without electricity.
Aremu who spoke at 2017 Africa Industrialisation Day in Abuja said African government must do everything possible to massively invest in energy such as hydro, solar and nuclear to drive Industrialization.
Aremu said that it was commendable that many African countries have put in place robust documents and policies on industrialization and diversification, but regretted that capacity utilization is still very low with few existing industries closing down with mass job losses.
He said it was time for major industrial players in South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Sudan to walked/worked the policies and add value to the continent abundant raw materials.
He commended the Nigerian government t for launching the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. Together with the existing National Industrial Revolution Plan, the Plan can promote the revival of industries and creation of mass decent jobs.
Aremu said further that there are quite a number of commendable initiatives by African governments in promoting wealth generation and reviving the industry, such as Buy-Africa campaign in South Africa and Buy Made-in-Nigeria campaign.
He said as part of such initiatives, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has assigned three unprecedented Executive Orders mandating Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods and services. These orders would help in the recovery of many factories in Nigeria
He commended the Edo states government for establishing industrial parks as part of the industrialization drive as well as the Sokoto and Cross River States for initiating the setting up of garment factories.
The global body resolved to develop a Sustainable Industrial Policy on Digitalization and Industry 4.0 and to campaign against any transformation that does not further much needed social justice and include a Just Transition for affected workers.
He, however, stated that Sustainable industrial policy must be based on an assessment of how to steer towards a destination we desire as a society, rather than a destination that is favourable to only a few, while asking for a future of work that embraces the positive impacts that Industry 4.0 may bring for all of the society while making sure that workers aren’t left to pay the social debts of companies, with governments unwilling to make this transition socially responsible.
He demanded that the benefits of digitalization and advanced technologies should be to all; employers and governments, and workers, and to society at large. We must make technology work for us and not simply allow Industry 4.0 to define a new wave of intensified work and more precarious work.
Aremu insisted that whatever forms of Industrialization, 1st or fourth industrial revolution there must be decent sustainable jobs for the workers with job security, living wages and living pensions. Businesses and owners of capital are employing robots, Machines and computers to replace workers in order to maximize profits and lower wages or even deny pay altogether. Yes, technology makes work easier, but they also could lead to job losses.