The National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Employees (NUCFRLANMPE) has tasked the Federal Government with incentives to cushion the effects of the harsh economy on manufacturers.
Mr Babatunde Olatunji, the President of NUCFRLANMPE, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos. Olatunji said that manufacturers were groaning due to huge overhead costs that had become a hindrance to operational efficiency.
He said that the inflation rate at double digits was increasing operation costs. ”Manufacturing is a critical sector of the economy. It depends largely on power which is currently below consumption while the tariff has risen. Worse is the price of gas and diesel which has also increased astronomically.
”Manufacturers in Nigeria are in the worse of times with a projected cost of N1,000 per litre of diesel,” he said. The union leader appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in infrastructure, especially roads which had made the movement of goods and services difficult.
He noted that the effect of bad roads among other factors had reduced sales thereby forcing many companies to close down. ”Redundancy is a daily exercise of employers in the chemical and footwear sector while various anti-labour practices are fast replacing normal practices.
”’ In NUCFRLANMPE, we had 30,000 members across the country, now, we have less than 10,000 as a result of closure or reorganisation of companies with attendant job losses,” he said
Olatunji said that the incentive should be on infrastructure, fuel subsidy and foreign exchange so as to remove obstacles hindering manufacturers and genuine businesses from accessing it.
He also said that the government should focus on repairing cargo railways, boosting electricity and tackling insecurity to attract investors. ”There should be a sincere peace pact among diverse interests and learning in Nigeria to resolve whatever differences responsible for rising insecurity.
”No sane investor will put his or her money in a crisis-prone environment,” he said. Olatunji stressed that diversification of the economy, provision of infrastructure and power generation would create employment for millions of youths and Nigerians. [NAN].