NIGERIA’S economic woes have got significantly worse over the last week after the United Nigerian Textiles Limited (UNTL) in Kaduna made 3,000 workers redundant as the economic slowdown bites hard.
Due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria’s economy has been hit hard as global demand for finished goods has reduced and commerce is on hold. Textile trading has not been immune from the crisis, the UNTL management saying that it could no longer service the employment of the sacked staff and had to lay them off.
A company spokesman said that despite the economic hardship it faced, it kept the workers on its payroll for over a year without work. He lamented the fact that the company has not been in production for the past two years due to the high exchange rates.
“We face a lot of problems as the exchange rate is too high and the cost of production is growing higher than the market price for our products. Again, the federal government has not given us listening ears to assist in certain areas, as there is no market price for our products as other competitors have taken over the market,” he added.
Joshua Achima, one of the sacked workers who said he worked in the spinning department, explained that he went to work on Wednesday, December 23, only for his shift supervisor to tell him to report at the personnel department. He added: “I went to the afternoon shift on Wednesday and my supervisor told me that the personnel manager wanted to see me.
“On reaching there, he handed over a letter to me. At first, I thought, it was a commendation letter but when I opened the letter, it read Your service is no longer required.”
Dr Ishaya Maduga, a human rights activist in Kaduna State, said ”Kaduna residents are in for the worst. Unfortunately, Kaduna has gotten to this level of hardship with hundreds of people in the state.
“Very soon, the worst of it all will happen as there will be thieves everywhere.” He lamented the fact that criminality, kidnapping for ransom, prostitution, killings, stealing would soon become rampant since there are no jobs and no market for people to do business.