COVID-19: Labour activist wants NLC, CBN to partner on economic recovery

A Labour Leader and Activist, Mr Issa Aremu, has called for partnership between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) toward recovery of the country’s economy after COVID-19.

Aremu, also the Vice President, Industrial Global Union, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.

The union leader, also former General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGWN), spoke on the sidelines of one-day Interactive Session with Stakeholders in Lagos.

The programme, organised by the apex bank, was on a “Five Year Policy Thrust of CBN”.

Aremu said: “The template by which the union and CBN should partner has already been set by CBN, a five year mission under Mr Godwin Emefiele.

“The vision, which is between 2019 and 2024 has been expounced further after the outbreak of COVID-19 in a policy statement.

“It states that we should turn the tragedy to opportunities for development.

“Significantly, is the revival of livelihood; even before COVID-19, we were already down.

“This means that labour should partner with CBN to realise the vision that we must now to produce what we consume.

“CBN also has a vision of creating 10 million jobs in five years, and all the interventions it has carried out in Aviation, Cotton and Textile sub sector, this is possible.

“Labour has to see a way to make sure it is realisable with CBN.”

He also said that there was need for COVID-19 to be treated as occupational health and safety.

According to him, it means employers have the responsibility to provide the personal protective equipment and workers have the responsibility to use them.

“The major challenge of pre and post COVID-19 is to save lives.

“So, we need more partnership between labour and the government to keep on promoting awareness that the virus is not over until there is a vaccine,” Aremu said.

Also, the NLC Chairman in Lagos State, Mrs Agnes Sessi, also urged CBN to partner with individuals who were ready to contribute their quotas to the economy vis-a-vis in the area of agriculture and others.

Sessi said that white collar jobs were no longer enough to cater for individual welfare, and many companies and state governments were not paying workers’ salaries as and when due.

“As it is in other countries where an individual can have more than one job, Nigeria, at this time, can also create such avenues where a civil servant, for instance, can have other means of income.

“This is where the government should encourage individuals, and workers through partnership with CBN to achieve such initiative,” she said. (NAN)