As recession rocking Nigeria economy persist, one of the biggest employers of labour in the country outside of the government belonging to Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has fired 48 members of his staff.
Out of the 48 people sacked, 36 are expatriates and 12 Nigerian workers from the group’s headquarters and one of the subsidiaries, Dangote Cement Plc.
Sources revealed that the decision to sack the workers was not unconnected with the current high cost of running business in the country occasioned by the unavailability of foreign exchange and the unprecedented hike in the currency, naira to dollar exchange rate.
According to local media, the huge amounts in foreign currencies being paid to the expatriate workers had become a burden on Dangote due to the steady depreciation in the value of the naira and the difficulties of raising enough dollars.
Consequently, the industrialist has decided to replace the expatriates with Nigerians, who have acquired the requisite experience on the job, as paying them in naira will be less problematic.
It was gathered that most of the affected Nigerians, had disciplinary issues, making it easy for the group to do away with their services.
However, in a letter signed by the President/Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, dated Thursday, October 20, 2016, the firm stated that it was constrained to take the “tough” decision as economic factors had affected the cost of production.
The letter read in part, “This year has been a very challenging year for us as a business. The unavailability of foreign exchange coupled with an unprecedented hike in the exchange rate has resulted in increased costs across the organisation.
“This called for a proper review and adjustment of our costs across board to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the deployment of our factors of production in a bid to eliminate redundancies that we know exist, which resulted in some tough decisions, which means losing staff, including some of our colleagues.
“On Friday, October 14, 2016, we began the process of staff cutbacks as it is imperative to review our human capital deployment for the required cutbacks that would ensure efficiency and eliminate redundancies in the allocation of human resources.
Blomberg had in its latest Billionaire Index’ reported that Dangote had lost $5.4bn of his fortune this year due to the fall in the value of the naira and the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to ration dollars to stem huge capital outflows in the wake of Nigeria’s worst economic crisis.