As the nation’s currency continues to slip against major world currencies especially US dollar (currently being sold at N305), about one million jobs are under threat as manufacturers find it hard to operate profitably.
Investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that many operators in the manufacturing sector have resorted to recruitment of casual workers in almost all their departments while some are turning existing staff to casual workers to avoid payment of entitlements and other benefits in case of disengagement.
In many companies visited around Agbara Industrial Estate Ogun State, Ilupeju Industrial Estate, Oshodi, Lagos and clusters of industries along Lagos-Abeokuta Express road, several young men and ladies besieged those companies very early in the morning so as to earn their daily bread but most of them were unable to get employed.
One of the young girls who spoke with Nigerian NewsDirect who simply identified herself as Sherifat explained that she needed the job to take care of herself and her siblings as they were unable to feed for many days in the past. Sherifat informed Nigerian NewsDirect that a lady usually collected N700 while men collected between N800 and N1000 daily as take home pay even as work starts at 7am and ends at 7pm everyday.
Some of the industry operators said hiring casual workers is the way out of the dwindling economic fortunes that is currently ravaging the country but Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) put the blame at the doorstep of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The chamber noted that depreciation of the naira is not just affecting the manufacturing sector but other sectors of the economy. According to the Director General of the Chambers, Muda Yusuf, the effect of the depreciation of the national currency is affecting the whole economy. “Jobs are being lost daily as many employers cannot continue to shoulder the burden of the rise in operation and cost of production”. However, he commended CBN’s policy on FOREX but added that the restriction on FOREX access to 41 products should be revisited as many companies have folded up due to the policy. It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria said it would discontinue its sales of foreign exchange to BDCs.
According to the Apex bank, “Operators in this segment of the market would now need to source their foreign exchange from autonomous source”. The CBN also warned “they must however note that the CBN would deploy more resources to monitoring these sources to ensure that no operator violates our anti-money laundering laws; the bank would now permit commercial banks in the country to accept cash deposits of foreign exchange from their customers”. While explaining the rationale behind the decision, the CBN explained thus, “we have noted with grave concern that Bureau de Change (BDC) operators have abandoned the original objective of their establishment, which was to serve retail end-users who need $5,000 or less.
Instead, they have become wholesale dealers in foreign exchange to the tune of millions of dollars per transaction. Thereafter, they use fake documentations like passport numbers, BVNs, boarding passes, and flight tickets to render weekly returns to the CBN”. In a similar vein, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report says that at least 1.5 million Nigerians have become unemployed since President Muhammadu Buhari took office.
According to the report on unemployment and underemployment released by the bureau, unemployment in the country rose from 529,923 to 1.454.620 people between June 1 and September 30 2015. “In Q3 2015, the labour force population, that is those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work, increased to 75.9 million from 74.0 million in Q2 2015, representing an increase in the labour force by 2.60%,” the reports says.
It means that 1,929,800 economically active persons within 15?64 were able and willing and actively looking for work between July 1 and September 30 2015.”Within the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 1,454,620 (529,923 in Q2) persons between Q2 2015 and Q3 2015 resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 9.9% in Q3 2015 from 8.2% in Q2 2015 from 7.5% in Q1 2015,” the report said.