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Food union seeks government’s intervention on forex scarcity

By Gloria Nwafor
25 August 2022   |   2:40 am
The Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) has lamented that employers in the sector are finding it difficult to import raw materials for production due to unavailability

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The Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) has lamented that employers in the sector are finding it difficult to import raw materials for production due to unavailability of foreign exchange (forex).

President of FOBTOB, Jimoh Oyibo, who said this during the union’s 44th anniversary, recently, urged the Federal Government to save the sector from total collapse.

He lamented that the issue of forex scarcity has affected the industry so much that it is affecting and slowing down production.

He gave instances of some big employers in the sector, like Ragolis Water, located in Ikorodu that has shut down operations due to forex unavailability.

According to him, “Our members have automatically lost their jobs.”

The FOBTOB president said that it was painful that manufacturers, who sustain the economy could not get forex, but the dollar is in the hands of individuals, mostly politicians, who use it at their conventions and other political activities.

He noted that sourcing forex from black market, which most of the companies are now doing for survival, having been left with no other choice is not sustainable.

“It is unfortunate that such things are playing out. Yet, we have a government. Sourcing from black market reduces the profit margin of the manufacturers and what that means is that they will not be able to meet up with their overheads,” he said.

Oyibo said the government should live up to its responsibility and ensure that forex is made available to manufacturers and not party jamborees.

On the introduction of excise duty on carbonated drinks, despite, the plea by the unions, the labour leader said the present administration has failed not only workers but Nigerians as the effects of the increase cut across several stakeholders.

“The duty affects our members who are now producing at a loss, but despite this, our employers have been magnanimous as we didn’t witness any redundancy.

“What we did was to advise our employers in those companies to push up the volume to make up, but our fear now is the technology being employed,” he said.

He reasoned that the workers could not afford to lose jobs now with the current inflation that has eroded even the present earnings of the workers: “This government has failed us from day one.

At the beginning we felt help had come. All of us should rise up to bring a government with human face.

“The fact that there’s no consequence for corrupt practices is what led us to this level. The leadership will need to change, so that at the end of the day things will be ok for our industry and our country,” he said.

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