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50,000 Abuja Workers Sacked in Two Months

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Worker

The scarcity of foreign exchange for importation of raw materials by local industries is adversely affecting the sector as over 50,000 workers have lost their jobs in Abuja in the last two months.

The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tony Ejinkeonye, confirmed the job losses in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja.

Similarly, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Frank Jacobs, said that about 10 companies had formally notified the association about their intention to shut down operations before the end of this month.

Ejinkeonye said that except something urgent was done by the Federal Government to address the forex exchange problem, more people could lose their jobs.

“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 said 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.

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 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.

He said, “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.”

Ejinkeonye added, “Airlines like Air France and Emirates are really having very serious problems now in taking back their foreign earnings.”

The MAN president said about 10 companies had indicated its plan to close shop before the end of the month.

He said with each of these companies employing an average of 200 people, a total of 2,000 workers would be affected if they decided to shut down their operations.

He said, “A number of our companies have formally written to us that they are going to close shop. Currently, we have about 10 companies that have written us informing us that they are running out of raw materials and that by the end of this month, they may close down.

“We do know that it is going to be more towards the end of the first quarter because many of them that have raw materials that can’t replenish them are likely to shut down.”

Jacobs called on the government to revisit the ban on 41 items from accessing the forex from the official window, especially items considered essential raw materials for manufacturing.

He said, “Many companies that have applied for foreign exchange for even those items that are not on the 41 ban list are finding it difficult to access foreign exchange from the central bank. So, we are calling on the CBN to make foreign exchange available for essential raw materials.”

Punch

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Merger and Acquisition

Otedola Moves to Sell Part of Geregu Power Plc to FEDA

Afreximbank to acquire part of Geregu Power plant

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Geregu Power

Billionaire Femi Otedola-owned energy company, Geregu Power Plc is in talks with the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) for the acquisition of part of the energy company.

The company stated in a statement signed by Akinleye Olagbende, Company Secretary and made available on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

Geregu Power hereby notifies “Nigerian Exchange Limited (the Exchange) and the investing public of its discussions with the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) for the acquisition of a portion of Geregu Power Plc shares. FEDA is the impact development arm of the Africa Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank),” the company stated.

According to the energy firm, talks are presently ongoing and “where these talks progress to a more advanced stage, the company will notify the Exchange and the investing public in line with the rules of the Exchange.”

In October, Geregu Power listed 2.5 billion shares at N100 a unit on the Main Board of the NGX. This puts the company’s market value at N250 billion and also in a better position it to raise capital to bid for Geregu II as it is presently doing.

Speaking on the listing, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Mr. Femi Otedola, CON, said “the listing of the company was the actualization of a vision to bring world-class standards in governance sustainability, and business processes to the Company and the Nigerian electricity sector.”

He added that “listing on the Main Board of the Exchange will ensure that the long-term growth of the company is assured and its benefits will be passed on to our esteemed shareholders”.

Otedola is the largest shareholder in FirstBank and also holds a 99% stake in Amperion Power, the owner of the Geregu Power Plant.

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank Acquires Indirect Stake in Sigma Pensions

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Access bank

Access Holdings on Friday announced it has completed the acquisition of an indirect equity stake in Sigma and the merger of its subsidiary, First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL) with Sigma.

According to the bank, following the sanction of the Scheme of Merger between Sigma and FGPL by the Federal High Court on December 1, 2022, FGPL has been dissolved without winding up leaving Sigma as the surviving entity, according to Access Holdings.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive of the Corporation, said “Following the successful completion of the merger, our plan is to leverage the synergies of these entities, as well as the Corporation’s expansive distribution network, strong risk management culture and best-in-class governance standards to create a formidable pension funds administration business.”

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Company News

Dangote Group Dismisses Rumours of Plan to Rise Cement Price

Dangote Cement says no price increase

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Africa’s leading cement producer, Dangote Cement Plc has dismissed the rumor that it plans to increase the price of its products.

The clarification became necessary following a recent publication that Dangote Cement plans a fresh increase.

Recently, there has been some publication (Not Investors King) about a potential increase in the price of cement. The publications noted that the increase will be a result of the high cost of fuel among other prevailing issues. 

According to the Senior Manager, branding and communication, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr Sunday Esan, “Dangote Cement is not embarking on a price increase”, stating that the increase is mere speculation.

Meanwhile, Dangote Cement in the third quarter of 2022, recorded an increase in the overall volume of cement sales by 6.2 percent to 20.8 metric tons in the third quarter of 2022.

According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Michel Puchercos, this was achieved, despite the elevated inflation caused by a very volatile global environment.

Similarly, while speaking on the increase in the price of fuel, Puchercos said “to mitigate the impact of the significant increase in energy and AGO costs, we are strengthening our efforts to ramp up the usage of alternative fuels”.

“We are on track to commission our Alternative Fuel feed system at Obajana lines I and V, and Ibese line II in November. In addition, we are ramping up our investment in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), to reduce our AGO usage,” he added. 

Investors King understands that Dangote Cement is Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 51.6Mta capacity across Africa. Although it has a few competitors which include BUA Cement, the company supplies most parts of Nigeria.

In addition, Dangote Cement has operations in 10 African countries. 

Its production plant in Obajana, Kogi state, is the largest in Africa with 16.25Mta of capacity across five lines while the Ibese plant in Ogun state has four cement lines with a combined installed capacity of 12Mta.

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