Atwoli challenges African states to ease taxes, embrace COVID vaccines
The Central Union of Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General Dr. Francis Atwoli has called on African employers to liaise with their respective governments in ramping up efforts on COVID-19 vaccinations on the continent.
Speaking on Wednesday, while closing a week-long North African Sub-Regional Conference on Post COVID-19 workers’ position in Hurghada, Egypt, Atwoli said the appeal was due to losses that most African employers incurred during the COVID-19 period.
The COTU boss reiterated the need of African Governments to waive policies especially on taxation measures.
He called on the African governments to focus on vaccination so that the continent does not lag behind as the rest of the world is vaccinating its populace.
He warned governments of not taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic situation to exploit workers instead of easing the cost of doing business in realization of sustainable employment and creation of new jobs.
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Atwoli took a swipe at most African states without sparing Kenya that has remained insensitive to the plight of her citizens amid the ravaging effects of COVID-19 following its recent imposition of heavy taxation on fuel in the country inflating the cost of living on Kenyans.
“Kenyans have been forced to pay Ksh.135 for a litre of petrol at a time when the Kenyan neighbours are paying far much less and wondered whether such governments should continue maintaining their silence when their people are bearing such burdens amid the pandemic,” said Atwoli.
The trade unionist noted that about 70 million jobs were lost in all the 54 African Member states of the African Union (AU) after the sector was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
He vowed to African workers covered under the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATU) will continue working closely with governments, employers and other international organizations for finding a lasting solution on how workers will be appreciated.