Speech by Mr. Owei Lakemfa, OATUU Secretary General

Given this reality, it is an incontrovertible fact that the world is in need of reform. But first, how did the vast majority of humanity end up in this hole? The answer is the exploitative economic system where the rich gets richer, and the poor gets poorer. It is a system built on inequality and exploitation; a dog-eat-dog social system where it is every man to himself. It is a world where individual interest supersedes collective survival; where private profit supplants collective good.

Therefore, if we are to have true reforms, it cannot be the false reforms of weakening the public sector and reducing public spending, in favour of strengthening the private sector whose motive is private profit. This is why the reforms carried out by developed countries and international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank from the early 1980s, have not only failed, but in fact, worsened the plight of humanity.
One of the most devastated parts of the world is Africa where thirty five years of ‘reform’ in the name of Structural  Adjustment or Economic Recovery  Programmes  and Poverty Reduction Strategic Papers, have  led to  greater  poverty and dependence on international financial  institutions.  Even in the last decade when some African countries have been humoured as some of the ‘fastest growing economies of the world’ posting a minimum 7 per cent annual growth, the experience of the citizens is greater poverty. What the citizens of such countries experience is the continuous devaluation of their currency, cuts in social spending, ever higher utility bills and prices of essential petroleum products.  This is not the road to reforms; it is the highway to deformities.

Development and dreams of a better world

Dear Comrades, growth without development is of no use to workers and the citizenry. Human beings cannot be mere statistical figures in the budget; what the world needs is a people-centred economic, social and political system. A world order based on the basic needs and rights of the people; including the right to food, shelter, employment, healthcare and basic education.

We are not asking for utopia, we are not preaching any new ideology nor violent overthrow of any system. We are simply saying that for human development to be guaranteed, all governments in the world should implement  basic agreements they have freely entered into with the rest of humanity.  Apart from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda which all nations have subscribed to, all countries have committed themselves to the upholding of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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  Source: ACFTU  2014-09-26

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