By Gilbert Alasa.
Following the ongoing scarcity of foreign exchange for importation of raw materials by local manufacturers in Nigeria, over 50,000 workers have lost their jobs in Abuja in the last two months.
President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tony Ejinkeonye, confirmed the number of jobs lost in an interview with Punch Newspapers.
Ejinkeonye, who described the future of the economy as gloomy, said more job losses are underway except the President Buhari’led administration finds solutions to the foreign exchange crisis facing the nation’s economy.
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“Currently, in Abuja, we have about 50,000 workers that have lost their jobs in the last two months. I must confess this is not a good time for the manufacturing sector,” he said.
“As manufacturers and industrialists, the scarcity of foreign exchange has affected us in the area of raw materials that need to be imported. We cannot access foreign exchange anymore to import raw materials.”
“Also, maintenance of some of these facilities has become a problem because the spare parts have to be imported and the inability to get foreign exchange to import them has impacted negatively on our operations.
“Some of our members who are manufacturers have even gone to the extreme of withdrawing their goods from the market and need to increase their prices to reflect the high foreign exchange rate. Many of us are having the problem of retaining our workers because the production is being hampered by lack of raw materials.”
He said even major manufacturers such as Dangote Cement and Unilever Nigeria are currently having problems accessing foreign exchange, adding that the Federal Government should come up with comprehensive plans to address the problem.
“There is a need for government to do something urgently and stop living in denial. The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Finance should come out and say something that would move us out of this forex crisis.”
“Things are really bad. As I’m talking to you now, Unilever, Dangote Cement and our other members are crying. A lot of companies have also threatened to lay off workers. If something urgent is not done within the next 30 days by the government to address this, you will see companies like Dangote and Unilever Nigeria sacking some of their workers.”
“Airlines like Air France and Emirates are really having very serious problems now in taking back their foreign earnings.”
By Gilbert Alasa.