How Apapa Wharf Sacked 5,000 Workers

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Over 5000 workers have lost their jobs in the Apapa area of
Lagos. This followed the closure of over 50 companies including banks and
entertainment outfits located in Apapa who depend on the activities from the
wharf.

On Wharf Road alone, Daily Sun counted over 10 banks  and two eateries that have closed their
branches because of the lull in the ports.
Unity Bank which used to have four  branches, has two now and Ecobank with eight  branches has reduced to four. Similarly,
Access Bank with seven  branches also cut
down to four
Eateries like Tetrazini and some ‘mamaput joints’ have
been  shut down, while a  popular Kingstone Joe – a fast food company –
that had two  outlets at Warehouse Road
and Wharf Rood  are closed down.
Tantalizer with three outlets has been reduced to one while
the only Mr Biggs eatery in Apapa on Creek Road is now out of the market.
Major hotels like Rockview, Excelsior and many others are
groaning for lack of patronage as most of their rooms are empty. Chains of
events that require renting their halls no longer come with faster frequency. 
A
room rate which used to be between N25,000 and N30,000 can now be negotiated to
between N8,000 and  N10,000 because of
the low patronage.
Other businesses that collapsed on Burma Road include,
grocery shops, shipping companies, haulage outfits, freight forwarding firms,
clubs and other recreational outlets.  It
was gathered that each of the outfits has between 20 and 50 staff while one of
the biggest brothels which harbours over 200 inmates in the area has equally
closed shop and the inmates relocated to other parts of Lagos where they can
get ‘customers’.
The entertainment outfit, according to the president of
Association of Maritime Journalists (AMJON), Mr. Ismaila Aniemu, said that the
brothel served as a relaxation spot for sailors but since there is no activity
in the ports, the brothel lost patronage and had to close shop.
Beside the bank and entertainment workers that lost their
jobs, some ancillary businesses like the provision stores and food vendors that
supply the low-end workers also ceased to be active.
The popular Eleganza complex that used to house over 1000
offices is virtually empty because the tenants have relocated or are out of
business. 
The few tenants who are still hanging on are owing several months
rentage. The complex which used to be the centre of activities is now a ghost
of itself—empty, deserted dilapidated.
The popular Nnewi Building where over 800 offices were
located is  now empty, abandoned and
lonely.
Generally speaking, property owners in Apapa are all
lamenting because nobody occupies their property. 
Daily Sun gathered that since
this year, only five ships had berthed in Apapa port, a situation that now
makes maritime business unattractive and boring.
The situation is worsened by recent high foreign exchange
rate which is almost N500  to a United
States dollar from what used to be about N160 to a dollar in 2015.
Daily Sun gathered that the high exchange rate  and the ban on  41 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
contributed to the low  activities in the
ports.
The 41 items include, rice, cement, margarine, palm
kernel/palm oil products/vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables
and processed vegetable products, poultry chicken, eggs, turkey, private
airplanes/jets, indian incense, tinned fish in sauce (Geisha)/sardines, cold
rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows,
headpans, metal boxes and containers, enamelware, steel drums, steel pipes,
wire rods (deformed and not deformed), iron rods and reinforcing barbedwire
mesh, steel nails, security and razor wine, wood particle boards and panels;
wood fibre boards and panels, plywood boards and panels; wooden doors,
toothpicks,  glass and glassware, kitchen
utensils, tableware, tiles-vitrified and ceramic textiles, woven fabrics,
clothes, plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers,  soap and cosmetics, tomatoes/tomato pastes,
eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases.
The CBN policy implies that, those who import these items
can no longer buy foreign currency from the official window to pay the overseas
suppliers. 
Rather, they will have to source forex from the parallel market or
Bureau De Change to pay for their imports.
Most businesses in the area were heavily dependent on the
state of the ports in Apapa Complex and Tin Can Island.
President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria,
Comrade Tony Nted Emmanuel,  had
announced in August that the government policy has led to more than 3000
dockworkers losing their jobs.

Investigations show that over 50 per cent of these
dockworkers are from Apapa Port. 
The chains of food vendors and other ancillary
service providers who hitherto enjoyed their patronage have been shut down.

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