Friday, 13 January 2017

Ngige to unions: back efforts to reduce imports

Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige yesterday asked labour unions to support government’s efforts at reducing over-dependence on imported goods and raw materials, which he said negatively affects the country’s foreign reserve.

Addressing the leadership of the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), who visited him in his office, the minister said the Buhari government was determined to ensure the promotion of locally-made goods and reducing dependence on imported goods and services.

He said:  “I wish to ask your union to do more than you have been doing by assisting the Federal Government proffer solution to the excessive reliance on imported goods and raw materials. We want you to put on your thinking cap and devise ways and means of lessening reliance on importation by sourcing your raw materials locally to preserve our foreign exchange.”

Ngige stressed that the government will ensure that industries remain operational, so as to check the incidence of job losses.

According to the minister, “the Federal Government has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure that the backlog of applications for items needed to make industries remain operational are accorded priority in foreign exchange allocation to forestall job losses.”

The minister hailed the union for focusing on workers’ welfare and diversifying into job creation ventures, hence complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in stemming youth unemployment.

NUFBTE President Comrade Lateef Idowu Oyelekan lauded the minister for his intervention and pro-activeness at nipping in the bud industrial issues that could snowball into crisis.

He appealed to the Federal Government to help beverage companies address the challenges they face in accessing foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials.

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