20,000 jobs lost over exit of 15 firms from Nigeria in three years – NECA

NECA Director General, Wale Oyerinde

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, the umbrella body for employers, has disclosed that at least 15 multinationals have either divested or partially closed operations in the country in the last three years.

In a recent interview with journalists, the Director-General of NECA, Adewale Oyerinde, warned that the consequences of the massive job losses across sectors would continue to create insecurity challenges and increase the occurrence of child labour, among others.

“It is worrisome to note that in the last three years, over 15 organisations with a combined value-chain staff strength of over 20,000 employees have either divested or partially closed operations.

“This has dire consequences not only for organised businesses but also for labour, government revenue and the households,” he noted.

NECA expressed concerns about rising unemployment in the country due to global business divestment and local closures.

Oyerinde cautioned, “The consequences of these massive job losses across sectors will continue to create insecurity challenges, increase the occurrence of child labour (as children will be forced to become breadwinners), adversely affect the disposable income of families, erode the purchasing power of individuals and drastically reduce economy’s output.”

He noted that when NECA examined the exits of prominent companies like GSK, Sanofi, Procter & Gamble, Nampak, and others that had been doing business in Nigeria for decades and were huge employers of labour, it was worried about the ripple effect on the broader business ecosystem.

Unilever Nigeria announced its exit from the home care and skin cleansing markets in Nigeria in November, saying it did so “to find a more sustainable and profitable business model”.

Procter & Gamble was the last to announce its exit from the country last year.

“Within the value chain, numerous enterprises serve as suppliers to these major corporations, and their sustainability is significantly compromised when the primary businesses they cater to face extinction.

“The survival prospects of these secondary businesses are at stake, and their employees are also at risk, as the departure of the main clients could lead to their demise. The crisis within the value chain deserves more attention than it currently receives.