FROM DAVID ONWUCHEKWA, NNEWI
INDUSTRIALISTS in Nnewi, Anambra State have bemoaned current economic crunch and have threatened to sack workers if nothing is done to remedy the situation even as some of them have already started downsizing.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kotec Group of Companies, Chief Chika Emenike, at the weekend, in Nnewi said that the Federal Government should do something urgently before local manufacturers in Nnewi where there are the largest number of manufacturing firms in the South East go into extinction because of high price of dollar to procure raw materials for production.
He revealed that some manufacturing companies within the Nnewi industrial cluster had started massive retrenchment of workers because of the economic situation adding that he would follow suit to avoid closing down completely.
Chief Emenike said one of his companies, which produces Tummy Tummy instant noodles with over 1,000 workers was being stifled of needed raw materials which were imported to remain in production. He noted that for them to get the amount of dollars to procure raw materials outside Nigeria, they would be subjected to a rigorous process of bidding which he said at the end of the day never favoured the bidders as government tightens the noose and never made it easy for them on daily basis.
As for sourcing dollars through the black market for production, he said one would hardly recover his capital let alone talking about profit. Chief Emenike lamented that the company which used to work three shifts a day has reduced it to one shift in order not to be out of business. He noted that it would be more profitable to site manufacturing factories within Nigeria’s neighbouring States where there was stability in the price of dollar and bring down the goods to Nigeria.
Apart from the issue of exchange rate, the industrialist said the rise in the price of diesel to power high capacity generators had made matters worse. He explained that his companies spent millions of naira monthly, especially in the manufacturing section on diesel because of epileptic and low quality electricity supply at the industrial cluster.
“The truth is that the situation is biting hard on us, even though there could be some people who are benefiting from it. The way we are affected is that the raw materials we use for production are almost all imported.
You can now imagine what will be our fate with this ever-rising price of dollar. And it is our resolve that we will never compromise our standard and quality, no matter the odds. Some companies are at the verge of closing down because they can no longer pay their workers,” Emelike said.