The dollar scarcity, recession and general economic hardship in Nigeria is causing more problems… About 1,500 employees of a Lagos-based tomato paste manufacturer, Erisco Foods Limited, are set to lose their jobs as the firm has shut down its $150million plant in Lagos.
Chief Executive Officer of Erisco Foods Limited, Chief Eric Umeofia, disclosed this on Wednesday in Lagos, attributing this to scarcity of foreign exchange.
Following the decision to close down the business, some of the employees of the firm protested the action on Wednesday. They carried placards with various inscriptions calling on the Government to save their jobs, by improving Nigeria’s economy.
Billionaire Erisco said he decided to shut down for one month over what he described as frustration in sourcing foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to him, if at the end of 30 days, the situation does not improve, he will move his company and manufacturing firm out of Nigeria.
He said, “We cannot get forex to buy machinery. We run our big factory with forex sourced from the parallel market at the exchange rate of N450/dollar. The companies that get forex at the official exchange rate are those that import items included in the list of items not valid for forex.
“We cannot continue this business because we are running at a loss while importers continue to flood our markets with banned tomato paste and prevent our products from selling.”
Erisco said about 1,500 of the company’s 2,000 workers in the Lagos factory would have to go.
Some of the workers, who spoke to The Punch, said the decision to close the factory would spell doom for them with an indication that their jobs were on the line.
“This factory is my only hope for now and if it is shut down permanently, it will mess up my home and generate a lot of stigma for me and my family,” Obinna Ezeugwa said.
Another worker, Ayoola Oladayo, remarked that over 5,000 families would suffer if Umeofia made good his threat to relocate his factory outside Nigeria.
The Assistant Marketing Manager, Kelvin Onyia, a father of four, said, “Many of us who are bread winners would not know what to do if the owner moves the factory out of Nigeria.”
OluFamous.Com had watched the Billionaire during a live TV programme last month, where he said there is no encouragement at all from government for genuine businessmen who are helping to create jobs for the massive unemployed youths in the country.
He said he’s being frustrated in many ways and might be forced to take his money to another country.