Forex Restrictions: 80,000 Manufacturing Jobs At Risk, Companies Suspends Operation

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has warned that the current foreign exchange restrictions especially the exclusion of 41 items from the foreign exchange market might lead to loss of about 80,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.
The chamber said that a lot of companies are suspending operations, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector until the issue of forex is addressed.
It said this was due to inability of manufacturers to access foreign exchange even for items not excluded.
In an interview, yesterday with the director of Research and Advocacy of LCCI, Mr. Vincent Nwani said, “In the manufacturing and industrial sector, we have about 80,000 jobs at risk. A lot of people have lot their jobs and companies are closing down.
“LCCI is increasingly getting notice from the manufacturers and industrial operators that they are planning to suspend operation, some going for three months, other six months until when the issue of forex is been addressed.”
Nwani added that the major issue now is access to forex. Even the goods that are not listed in the 41 items, manufacturers cannot even fund dollars to fund them.
Reacting on the looming danger as a result of the policy, recently, the former president of LCCI, Alhaji Remi Bello, said most manufacturers might be forced to shut down and move their operations to neighbouring countries for business activities due to their inability to access foreign exchange for raw materials and other critical inputs, which will lead to massive job loss in the manufacturing sector.
According to him, there is pressure on manufacturers to lay off their workforce as most of them have been unable to produce lately due to lack of foreign exchange.
Bello further lamented that, for an economy that is largely driven by the private investors, the government should source for alternative means rather than resorting to a total exclusion of certain items from the foreign exchange market. 
He however urged the federal government to prevail on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the policy in the interest of the workforce, the private sector and the economy at large.
While the president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank  Jacobs stated recently that by the end of the first quarter of 2016, many manufacturers who make use of the raw materials that are included on the list of the 41banned items would have closed shop, saying that the closure of these manufacturers would further compound the alarming unemployment rate already existing in the country.
He stressed that forex allocation to bureau de change was a scam adding that it has to be totally eliminated as it would profit the country more if being allocated to the real sector.  
“The Nigerian naira has already lost its value, whether we like it or not. A dollar is exchanging for N305, so, we are advocating guided devaluation,” he stressed.
According to Udemba, “the ban of 41 terms is seen as a step in the right direction, but we have five major items as raw materials on the list and if CBN should exempt these five items, then they would benefit manufacturers and the country at large.”

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