Trade Union Congress ventures into Nigeria’s economic space

helen shok jok, Abuja

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria TUC, says it will no longer be a spectator in the Nigerian economy.

The TUC presently is in dialogue with both foreign and local partners to becoming an investor in the nation’s economy, with the conviction that it can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and watch helplessly for others to decide its future.

This was part of the speech delivered on Thursday by the President, TUC, Bobboi Kaigama, at the opening of the Tenth Delegates’ Conference of the Congress holding in Abuja.

The TUC said it has set up one billion dollar Economic Development Fund for the actualisation of its Economic Development Plan.
Kaigama said the fund would provide additional income streams for its members and affiliates and also provide loans for those still in service, and after service.
“This fund will be used to make strategic investments into the different sectors of the economy. Part of this fund will be set aside to provide loans and the required technical assistance for our members to set up and run bankable businesses when they retire from service.
“Through this plan, the TUC will mobilise resources from its members, affiliates, partners and other investors to invest in a number of critical assets across different sectors of the economy.
“By so doing, TUC and its members can take advantage of the existing investment opportunities in lucrative areas of financial services, power, housing, agriculture, oil and gas, infrastructure, among others,”
 Kaigama explained.

Opportunity to invest
He said TUC and its members will be given the opportunity to invest into and benefit from the various businesses by subscribing to the TUC Development Fund.
According to him, from June, each member will be given an opportunity to invest at least N50,000 into this fund.
“There is an incredible interest in this fund already but our members and their families will be given priority to invest.
“I encourage each of you to get members of your family to be part of this dream by investing in this fund.
“By making this decision, we will be changing the lives and guaranteeing our future and that of our families,”
he emphasised.

The TUC President said unions had waited helplessly for decades as major government organisations had been bought by private individuals through privatisation and in turn decided the fate and future of workers.

He said by the establishment of the fund, TUC would have the numerical strength, collective bargaining power and economic might to its full advantage.

Kaigama stressed that TUC would no longer be a spectator but rather an investor in the economy.
“We must join hands with government and other citizens to build a country that is devoid of injustice.
“We must create and ensure job security, fund education, refrain from money laundering and corrupt practices and recognise market men/women and peasants, among others.

“We believe that through this innovation, we shall see a Nigeria where productive enterprise flourishes in an atmosphere of mutual benefit, industrial harmony and cohesion between the government, private employers and labour.”

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress Ayuba Wabba  in a goodwill message, called for vigilance by policy makers, insisting that they must engage on policies that is not prescribed by foreign forces for the growth and development of the nation.

He said that labour will not stay aloof waiting for its needs to be given to it on a platter of gold, saying it can only be achieved through “contestation.”

Emphasing that Nigerian workers are one, Wabba said that “ together we will soar from one level to another.”

Chairman of the occasion and former Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari advised the  government to have a compact with organized labour in the country as a way of nabbing incessant strikes  by labour in the bud.

He said for the Government to succeed in all its campaign promises, labour must remain in continuous partnership for dialogue. He called for attitudinal change among the citizenry to fight corruption and promote youth empowerment.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, lamented what he called the growing inter and intra-union squabbles, which he said had eroded the greater solidarity and cooperation the nation needs at this time.

He called on organised labour to close ranks in its struggle for the common good of members

Confidence O.