The ongoing recession is taking its toll on Nigerian artisans, as over one million of them had been rendered jobless in the last six months, New Telegraph has learnt. President, Association of Building Consultants and Artisans of Nigeria (ASBAN), Mr. Jimmy Oshinubi, who disclosed this to our correspondent in Lagos, said the situation is getting worse.
He called on the government to do everything possible to reflate the economy. Oshinubi said over one million of his members across the country have been rendered jobless due to ongoing economic crisis in the country, as building contractors stopped construction projects they are handling due to capital shortfall.
ASBAN is the umbrella body of block moulders, bricklayers, aluminium fabricators, sand and granite suppliers, carpenters and furniture makers, licensed electrical contractors, house painters, plumbers, welders and tillers. According to field survey by this newspaper, many of the artisans, especially bricklayers, tillers and plumbers were idle as at 11.30 am in some junctions such as Iyana Ipaja, Berger , Ikeja and Magboro, waiting for contractors to call them for jobs.
One of them, a bricklayer at Magboro, who identified himself simply as Baba Esther, said the last time he got call for a job was a month ago, stressing that the ongoing harsh economy has suddenly turned many of his colleagues to Okada riders Oshinubi added that the situation got worse with the rise in cement price, noting that people who had been managing to keep their housing projects ongoing just suspended them immediately.
He said: “The situation got worse when cement manufacturers also jacked up prices of their product last month by 40 per cent increase. This was the final struck that broke the camel’s back.” Besides, he said people who had earlier wanted to develop property have suspended the project, saying “they are still battling with the payment of children’s school fees.” Oshinubi added: “The recession is affecting us badly. There is no job for our members.
The rich that used to give jobs are now hiding. They want to build but are being cautious because of lack of fund. We are just doing maintenance jobs. This involves repairs of water pipe, roof, window and plastering of wall cracks.” Moreover, the artisan’s president alleged that foreign artisans from Togo in collaboration with some Nigerian contractors have taken over jobs meant for his members, saying they are undercutting their jobs. He said: “We have more of these foreigners in Lagos; they moved in to take over our jobs.
The impression among Nigerian professional is that foreign workers are better than our members. This is not true, we are better than them,” he said. “If the government feels they are better, then the authority should up its game by training indigenous artisans. But we all know that they prefer foreign artisans because they are cheap and some contractors used them to cut corners.”