As the current economic recession rocking the Nigerian economy bites harder, one of the biggest employers of labour in the country outside of the government – Dangote Group, belonging to Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has fired 48 of its workers.
Those sacked were made up of 36 expatriate and 12 Nigerian workers from the group’s headquarters and one of the subsidiaries, Dangote Cement Plc.
Although highly placed sources in the company claim 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 naira to dollar exchange rate, it was gathered that 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.
According to sources, 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.
For the affected Nigerians, it was gathered that most of them had disciplinary issues, which made it easy for the group to do away with their services.
However, when contacted on Sunday, the Group Head, Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, Tony Chiejina, said he could not speak on the development.
Meanwhile, a letter signed by the chairman of the group, Aliko Dangote, states that the company is currently embarking on restructuring due to high cost of production in both factories.
Part of the letter reads:
“This year has been a very challenging one for us as a business. The unavailability of foreign exchange, coupled with an unprecendented hike in 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 redundancy 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 required cutbacks that would ensure efficiency and eliminate redundancies in the allocation of human resources.
“This first phase of this exercise involved the cutback of 36 expatriate staff across the Dangote Cement Plc and Dangote Industries Limited and 12 local staff in Dangote Industries Limited.”