NLC, OTUWA bemoan inability of ECOWAS to promote growth
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Organisation of Trade Unions in West Africa (OTUWA) have decried the inability of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate the growth and development of the sub-region forty years after creation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of OTUWA Working group on communication, President of ECOWAS, Mademba Sock and President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba decried the rising poverty among workers in the West African region.
The two labour leaders said sufficient attention has not been placed on food production and the means through which the population could be fed. Sock said: “We have focused attention on the theme of hunger and food security to underscore the fact that it is important area in the live of our members that we have over the years paid little attention to. And yet a significant percentage of our members’ monthly budget is on food for the family. The inability of our respective governments in the sub region to adequately feed their population cannot obviously be a thing of joy for us as unions.”
Speaking further, the OTUWA President lauded the on-going efforts by industrial unions in the sub-region to interrogate the root causes of the current state of food insecurity in the sub region.
On his part, the NLC President, Wabba described as sad and leave sour taste in the mouth that after four decades after the formation of ECOWAS in 1975, it is still unable to feed the citizens of the economic community
However, Wabba blamed poor policy choices as well as policy inconsistencies for the inability of the ECOWAS sub region to achieve food sufficiency and security for the huge population of the sub region.
His words: “Our agricultural production methods have stagnated and hardly benefited from inputs of modern science and technology development. The world has moved so fast in the past few decades and the West Africa sub-region has failed to keep pace with development. Most of our farmers still depend on the farm implements that have been used for many centuries by our forefathers. We have not developed our tools and improved technics in the agricultural sector in order to produce the amount of food we need.
“It is my hope that the meeting will address the causes of these retardation in our agricultural policies in the sub region and clearly outline the roles that we can, as trade unions play, to change the situation in the interest of millions of poor working families in our Sub region.”
He urged trade unions in the sub region to invest in the campaign to ensure that incidences of people going to bed habitually hungry on daily basis as a result of insufficient food on the family table become a thing of the past in the region.