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Union cautions against dumping of goods



Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode

THE Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON) has urged the Federal Government to carry out due diligence as Walmart prepares to open an outlet in Lagos.

The General Secretary of the union, Gbenga Komolafe, said in a statement at the weekend that the entry of Walmart into Nigeria could spell doom for thousands of crappy jobs that Nigerians are scrambling for.

He added: “Government must conduct a comprehensive impact assessment of what will be the effect on local retail business if Walmart enters Lagos.

The employment situation in Lagos and indeed the whole country is so precarious now than to take any step that might further imperil the livelihoods of millions of working families on the altar of a few thousand crappy jobs and massive dumping of low cost goods which will further jeopardize what is left of our local industries.”

The union’s observations followed a visit of the executives of the global retail trade giant led by Shelley Broader, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart Incorporated Europe, Middle East, Africa and Canada to the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, where he revealed the intention to establish business presence in Nigeria starting with Lagos.

The union stated that Walmart entry into the country, would have ordinarily draw applause, but was quick to add that as a union, FIWON is convinced that entry of Walmart portends serious threats and dangers that will negate the optimistic expectations of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

The union added: “We are concerned because millions of retail businesses including street and market vendors, some of who happen to be our members face the threat of being displaced from business by this global behemoth.

As it is, millions of jobs have been lost in Nigeria in the last two decades as a result of Nigeria’s extreme open market policy which has turned the country to a dumping ground of, very often, fake, sub-substandard goods from all over the world especially, in recent years, China.

Given Nigeria’s well known infrastructural deficiencies, Nigerian manufactured goods stood no chance as hundreds of factories closed down, rendering millions of Nigerians jobless or with low paying work in the informal sectors of the economy.”

It further observed that over 80% of the working population scrape subsistence in the informal economy, a significant percentage of this, in retail trade in the neighborhoods and the communities would be endangered.

Walmart, renowned for its dismal record of systematically easing out small time retailers in the communities because of its extremely low wage, undercutting low pricing policy which is made possible by its slave camp manufacturing plants in South East Asia, will easily uproot local retailers and neighborhood markets in Lagos.

We are sure of this outcome because of Walmart’s antecedence from its home country, the United States of America and also across so many other countries it operates in.

Studies after studies have shown that while Walmart offers some low paying jobs, it actually uproots several more people from their retail business, than it offers its poverty wage jobs,” FIWON stated.

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