As the scarcity of foreign exchange continues to bite harder on the manufacturing sector’s capacity to source raw materials, at least 50,000 workers have lost their jobs in Abuja over the last two months.
The President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tony Ejinkeonye, made this known during an interview with The Punch.
Corroborating Ejinkeonye’s point of view, the president, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Frank Jacobs, added that 10 companies had formally notified the association about their intention to discontinue operations before the end of this month.
Ejinkeonye said that except there is quick intervention by the federal government to address the forex exchange problem, more jobs will be lost.
“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.
He explained that majority of manufacturers operating in Abuja could no longer access foreign exchange to import raw materials, adding that those who managed to get forex from the black market could not sell their products as consumers could not pay the high prices.
“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.”
The ACCI president said the situation had become so bad that even big manufacturing companies such as Unilever Nigeria Plc, Dangote Cement, Air France and Emirate Airlines were having problem getting foreign exchange.
He stressed the need for the Federal Government to come up with a comprehensive approach that would address the problem.
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