Benin – The organised labour says decent jobs are gradually going into extinction while job security is being threatened on a daily basis by unstable and recessed economy.Mr Babatunde Olatunji, the President, National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Product Employees (NUCFRLNMPE), said this on Tuesday at the 26th Annual Industrial Relations Seminar holding in Benin from Aug. 21 to Aug. 25.
According to Olatunji, the cause of job insecurity can largely be attributed to the inability of manufacturers to access foreign exchange for their business.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave concession of 60 per cent foreign exchange to the real sector following Vice President Yemi Osibanjo’s initiative on the Ease of Doing Business.
Also, Mr Frank Jacobs, President, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), said, “even though the preferential forex allocation was removed vide the forex policy of Feb. 21, 2017, the CBN has promised to continue to accord the manufacturing sector strong priority in forex allocation.’’
Jacobs added that the preferential forex allocation regime brought increase in capacity utilisation into the sector as manufacturing activities were galvanised leading to an improved performance.
The president of the union insisted that in spite of CBN’s promise on forex, chemical and footwear workers have continued to lose jobs because of the difficulty in accessing forex being faced by employers.
“Many factories are operating far below installed utilisation. This makes management to deploy tactics of saving cost by reducing workers welfare,’’ Jacobs said.
He further decried the epileptic power supply that has continually sapped the gains of production from most manufacturers, while consumers have continued to bear the high cost of products.
Jacobs, therefore, appealed to the government to look into the issue of insecurity and the deplorable condition of roads which, he said, was impeding the growth and development of the manufacturing sector.
In his message, Mr Bashir Kadiri, the Permanent Secretary, Edo Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that investment was the only way to drive industrialisation.
Also, Mr Akinbode Kolawole, first President of NUCFLNMPE, said the training was important because it represented a `passport’ that could move the workers and industry forward.
Kolawole said that without such training, it would be difficult for workers to be acquainted with the best practices for improve productivity.
No fewer than 500 workers from Vitafoam, Nigerite, Unilever, Nicil, Lafarge Cement, and Pure Chemical Ltd, among others, attended the seminar.
This year’s seminar has been tagged: `Emerging Industrial Relations Practices: Issues, Challenges and Way Forward.’’ (NAN)