BUHARI BIRTHDAY A WORTHY CELEBRATION – COMRADE ISSA AREMU, MNI

On behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the National union of Textile, Garment & Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the generality of our members, we hereby congratulate the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari as he attained 75 years of age on Sunday December 17, 2017.

WORTHY CELEBRATION
Celebration of life assumes special importance for President Buhari who with the grace of God and global solidarity recently triumphed over health challenges.

The recovery of President Buhari and marking of birthday at 75th is total pleasure for textile union and labour movement in general. President Buhari commendably made the revival of textile industry and manufacturing sector his cardinal campaign programme. We bear witness that through the activist facilitation of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo and Honourable Ministers of Trade and Investment namely, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah and Aisha Abubakar, Buhari administration has initiated a number of measures aimed at industry revival. Of particular significance was the unprecedented signing of Executive Orders by Vice President Osibanjo in line with the promise of President Buhari on the ease of doing business. Of special importance to textile industry is the order mandating Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods. This singular order would help in the recovery of the textile and garment industry. The challenge is to ensure that the agencies make the executive orders a reality in patronizing locally produced textiles. The police and Customs department should stop buying officers uniforms from Bangladesh and China, when the surviving textile factories can produce at home. The point cannot be overstated; Nigeria currently spends over US$4 billion annually importing textiles and readymade clothing when it has the potential to produce for the local market and even export to the ECOWAS market of over 175 million people, as well as to the developed world (e.g. the United States under AGOA and EU GSP scheme which Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar and a number of African countries are already exploiting).

CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER
On the occasion of his birthday, we also salute President Buhari Federal administration for the implementation of its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) payments in nine pilot States that include Borno, Kwara, Bauchi, Cross River, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti. State governments should emulate the Federal government and build a kinder caring states. CCT should be universal and made a right not passing interventionist fad. Both the Federal governments and States should also make the cash transfer to the poor as a matter of right not charity. This will be consistent with the 1999 constitution which says the primary purpose of governance is the security and welfare of the citizens. There should be an annual increase of public expenditure on social protection to cover cash transfers to students in forms of bursaries and scholarships and cash for widows. Lack of social protection leaves many Nigerians vulnerable to ill-health, poverty, inequality and social exclusion throughout their lifecycle.

One again we felicitate with President Muhammadu Buhari at 75 and wish him more years of service to Nigeria, Africa and humanity in general.

Comrade Issa Aremu, mni
NEC MEMBER, NLC
GENERAL SECRETARY, NUTGTWN
VICE PRESIDENT, INDUSTRIALL GLOBAL UNION
BOARD MEMBER, NATIONAL SALARIES, INCOMES AND WAGES COMMISSION (NSIWC)

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