Nigeria’s rising unemployment is being further worsened by the lull in the construction industry occasioned by suspension or outright abandonment of infrastructural projects scattered across the country.
The projects cut across those initiated by both the federal and state governments.
In the last three months, over 60,000 workers in the industry had lost their jobs as construction firms continue to lay off staff in what organised labour attributes to a slowdown in infrastructural development since the last elections and policy discontinuity leading to contractors vacating construction sites.
Labour warns that the trend portends danger for the economy and questions President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to create jobs across sectors of the economy.
BusinessDay reports that there had been mass lay-off of construction workers in the last couple of months, as construction firms complained of lack of jobs and non-funding of existing projects. Some of the big names in the industry that have shoved off workers are Julius Berger Nigeria plc, Stabilini Construction, as well as Construction and Civil Engineering Company of China (CCECC). One of the three companies actually sent all its workers packing.
Amechi Asugwuni, president, National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), who address a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, said the development was worrisome and it was time President Buhari arrested the trend to avoid further escalation of unemployment with its negative impacts on the economy.
“We feel strongly that the present government led by President Muhammadu Buhari need to confront the problems of infrastructural development and other social vices with vigour and urgency to reduce poverty rate, joblessness and insecurity in the country. He should reactivate all ongoing projects to stimulate employment while fighting corruption,” said Asugwuni.
He noted that there could be no meaningful economic development if infrastructure was not accorded priority, stressing that both federal and state governments must make extensive rail/road network construction top on their agenda.
Over 11,000 federal projects in billions of naira are said to be lying waste across the country.