Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to urgently lead the struggle to redeem the respect and dignity of Africa.
The call was part of the communiqué issued at the end of the 31st Annual National Education Conference of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, which was held in Abuja.
The conference frowned at what it called the idea of All Africa leaders engaging different countries of the world as unequal partners.
The communiqué signed by the President and General Secretary of the Union, John Adaji and Issa Aremu, said: “Africa must indeed engage in globalized world. But it’s unacceptable that a continent of 54 countries would be engaging with China, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan among others in unequal summits which often hold outside the Continent of Africa.
“The promise of independent Africa in 1957 when Ghana lowered the Union Jack is that Africans would relate with the world as equals not as junior partners begging for development.
“African Union vision of 2063 talks of prosperity for all Africans based on self reliance and partnership with the world as contained in 2030 UN sustainable Development Goals 17”, it said.
The meeting called on African countries to cooperate more with themselves rather than competing with themselves for conditional aids as well as support other countries in Asia and Africa, adding that Europe once scrambled for Africa which led to colonialism and underdevelopment, insisting that African leaders in 2019 should not be willing tools for new domination and global exploitation.
It commended the Cotton, Textile and Garment CTG Policy by the Nigerian government saying that the implementation of the CTG policy is taking place at the time most African countries including Nigeria had signed on to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and commended President Buhari for signing the Agreement.
The Union also called on the Federal government to develop a comprehensive strategy to fully optimise the benefits of ACFTA with necessary safeguards in place to prevent and apprehend unfair trading practices such as smuggling and dumping.
On the Textile industry, the communiqué described the industry as the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like Nigeria.
For Nigeria and Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2030, especially SDG 9 which deals with industry and innovation, the conference believes that the African continent must innovate and industrialize.
According to the communiqué: “Africa must copy China’s industrialization drive which has within 20 years moved over 250 million people out of poverty through manufacturing and industrialization.”
The meeting commended the Bank of Industry for sustainable financing to textile operators to aid recovery and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for the support to industrial revival.
The current closure of Nigerian borders by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as part of the strategies to combat smuggling was also commended by the meeting while calling on the Nigerian Customs to effectively enforce the directive.
“The directive by President Buhari for special fund by the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for capacity building and training of workers in the cotton, textile and garment value chain against the background of the new CTG policy and signing of the ACFTA is also commendable.
“The fund must be channeled through the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria.
“For textile industry to be competitive, the existing workforce must be trained and retrained to acquire new skills for the challenges of competition within the context of the 4th industrial revolution,” the communiqué said.
While calling on the federal government to intensify effort to address the problem of electricity supply in the country, the conference said that there can be no industrialization without electrification.
The communiqué also commended the Federal Government, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and all the stakeholders for working together to ensure a new National Minimum Wage of N30, 000 for Nigerian workers and the consequential adjustments as it affects public sector workers.
Other issues highlighted by the communiqué include the national economy, Nigeria’s electoral process, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC and the Labour Party among others.
The Conference was put together by the NUTGTWN and the Nigerian Textile Garment and Tailoring Employers’ Association.