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COVID-19: NSE Ibadan fears prolonged lockdown may lead to retrenchment



Mr Abdulwasi Ajagbe, Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ibadan branch, on Monday expressed fears that the current situation if prolonged could lead to retrenchment of those in the engineering sector.

Ajagbe said this in Ibadan in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency .

He said  the lockdown had crippled the production sector of the economy and led to huge loss of revenue yet to be quantified. 

“My members are not exempted from the effects of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Engineers are involved in different services across various aspects of the economy; some work in the industry, some are lecturers in institutions, some are civil servants and some work in the Oil and Gas sector. 

“When you look at all these, with the lockdown, most industries have shut down production.

“So the prayer is for the lockdown not to be prolonged because without production the Industrialists will be looking at retrenching some staff, ” Ajagbe said.

He noted also that for his members who are lecturers, with the issue of ASUU strike, salary was not in view.

“And of course the civil servants are home too, they got the last month’s salary but who knows what will happen if the situation is extended. 

“Those in the Oil and Gas sector who are our members too will feel the heat as the price of global oil keeps crashing.

“But by and large across board, our members at the moment are affected. Though we are still hoping that the government’s effort at containing the spread will pay off.

“So that the effect will not be too much,” he said.

The NSE Chairman, also stated that some of their members were still providing essential services especially those that are in the power sector and in the broadcast Media. 

He said generally of all the four categories of engineering family which comprises, Engineers, Technologists, Technicians and Cast men, the latter was badly affected. 

Ajagbe said “Since most construction projects are shut down to ensure social distancing sites are deserted to contain the spread of the virus in line with government’s directive.

“The cast men are the worse hit by the situation as most of them work to get payment on a daily basis. 

“And so when construction works are closed, there is no way they can earn their daily living and this has ripple effects on their families at this time.”

Ajagbe stated that the amount of revenue loss due to the pandemic cannot be quantified, as it is huge.

“All those who are working on various projects are unable to do so now,” he said.

In a separate interview, the immediate past chairman of NSE Ibadan, Mr Adedamola Falade-Fatile,  said the lockdown had affected the growth environment and contributed to hundreds of millions of dollars being lost globally. 

He, however, expressed hope that the government would not have to extend the initial 14 days lockdown, so as not to ground the nation’s economy to a halt.

Edited By: I feyinwa Omowole/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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