The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has charged the Federal Government on sustainable industry policy that will create opportunities for real sector growth and employment creation.
President of NLC, Abdulwaheed Omar, who made the call in Abuja, said the growth of the real sector is dependent of visible industrial policy even as he urged government to decisively tackle the menace of high cost of governance and pervasive corruption in the country.
Omar, who expressed concern over the increasing level of poverty in the land, maintained that the present economic growth does not translate into industrial development and better life for the Nigerian people.
According to him, the economy continues to experience incessant factory closures, and with no visible industrial policy, has led to continuous informalisation of work and de-industrialisation. He added that unemployment has continued unabated while hyper-inflationary pressure, which has been most severe in the food, energy and transport sub sectors have impoverished majority of Nigerians.
He recalled that the economy, in 2012, was characterised by a number of maladies, with dire consequences for workers and the Nigerian people. Specifically, he explained that the crisis of unemployment has continued to be the greatest challenge facing the country.
"Official statistics puts the unemployment rate at above 24 per cent. As alarming as this would seem, it actually disguises the enormity of the unemployment problem given the huge pool of disguised unemployment and underemployment. The incidence of unemployment among the youths is even more alarming. Though official figures indicate over 40 per cent of them as unemployed, the reality is that about 60 per cent of youths remain unemployed.
"The underlying inflation in the economy has also continued to erode the purchasing power of workers' incomes, making the N18,000 Minimum Wage largely a poverty wage. Aggregate inflation, which officially stands at 11.7 per cent in the third quarter of the year, might be misleading as the fuel price hike in January, the increase in electricity tariffs and the floods in the third quarter of the year that have been major culprits driving inflation, have largely disempowered working families," Omar said.
He said the challenge is for government to promote employment generating growth so as to break away from the malady of jobless growth and evolve a sustainable industrial policy rather than throw up figures that are not in tandem with present day realities.