Over 50,000 workers have lost their jobs in Abuja in the last two months, due to the scarcity of foreign exchange which has made it difficult for local industries to import raw materials into the country.
In an Interview with Punch, the President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mr. Tony Ejinkeonye, confirmed that thousands of jobs had been lost.
In a related development, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Frank Jacobs, said that about 10 companies had informed the association of their intention to shut down operations before the end of the month.
He said, “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.”
The ACCI president, however appealed to the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the problem as a lot of big manufacturing companies such as Unilever and Dangote Cement are being affected while Airlines like Air France and Emirates are finding it difficult to take back foreign exchange earnings.