The crisis rocking the country’s economy has been one hitting Nigerians of all walks of life. Many have been quick to blame the CBN and its 2016 policies which they term as counter-productive and detrimental to the average Nigerian Their belief is so grounded to the extent that a protest march asking for the removal of its Governor Godwin Emefiele took place recently.
A critical look at the state of the nation’s main hubs of economic activity makes the protest seem quite reasonable. An example is the Apapa area of Lagos State. Locating the Apapa Wharf, this used to be one of the busiest areas of Lagos State and indeed the country, with businesses of varying sizes situated in and around the wharf.
Now, the area is a shadow of its former self. Since the devaluation of the Naira, the prospect of importing goods into the country has become less attractive. However, a more culpable culprit is the CBN’s decision to ban 41 items from officially accessing forex for importation. What this means is that importers have to source their funds from the parallel market where the exchange is close to N460/$1.
At such a high rate, many have abandoned importation, creating a ripple effect on other businesses in the area. For example, Sun News reports that only 5 ships have berthed at the Apapa port this year. The result of this is that several associated businesses have closed shop.
On Wharf Road alone, Daily Sun counted over 10 banks and two eateries that have closed their branches because of the lull in the ports, with several others reducing their presence in the area. Grocery shops, shipping companies, haulage outfits, freight forwarding firms, clubs, other recreational outlets and even brothels located on Bruma Road have closed down. With many of these outfits recruiting between 15-20 workers, that gives more than 3,000 laid off workers.
Add to that the over 1,500 dockworkers who, according to President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Tony Nted Emmanuel, have lost their jobs due to the policy and you will come up with more than 5,000 workers who have become unemployed in Apapa since the turn of the year. All due to one of CBN’s policies.