• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

“The abyss of unemployment…” reactions trail Africa’s largest syringe factory closure

Africa’s largest syringe factory in Akwa Ibom folds up 6 years after opening

Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing’s (JSM) inauguration in 2017 had been a triumphant occasion. With gleaming machinery and ambitious plans to produce a large quantity of syringes annually, it promised to break Africa’s dependence on imported medical supplies.

The venture, backed by local and international investors, was seen as a symbol of progress, a giant leap towards healthcare autonomy for a continent long plagued by medical vulnerability.

However, the manufacturing stopped its production many months ago, and a memo addressed to all the workers of the company that its operations had ended, as reported by Businessday on Wednesday.

The factory’s demise has sparked a complex conversation. On social media platform X, citizen reactions to BusinessDay’s post unveiled a range of sentiments.

@Blezybest expressed concerns: “Oh, it’s the biggest in the whole of Africa. Do you know what that means? Just be praying to God that you don’t fall sick. Even Malaria treatment could cost you the amount you can never imagine.”.

Read also: Africa’s largest syringe factory in Akwa Ibom folds up 6 years after opening

Others launched a scathing attack on the Akwa Ibom governor, criticizing his lavish ₦32 Billion church project @Obiora_Marie “But no, the current governor is busy building an expensive church, so he and his people will go there to ask God in heaven to come down and run the syringe factory and pay the workers salaries. PDAPC are demons Nigeria, in 2024, I pity us”.

@Its_ereko “Their Governor dey build worship centre with 32b yet some of their people still dey defend him. Which way Nigerians.? Akwa Ibom people deserve better”.

This sentiment, shared by numerous users like @Obiora_Marie and @Its_ereko, revealed a deep sense of betrayal and anger at the perceived mismanagement of funds.

However, not everyone agreed on the cause of JSM’s downfall. @Uzochi_O “They lost their market share. They couldn’t compete with cheaper and better alternatives. Other local manufacturers will replace them. They are free to leave.”

@bechiny highlighted systemic issues: “When there’s no constant electricity supply, lawlessness and gross corruption in the system, how can the company keep down the cost of production? Nigeria is a failed state”.

While, @AfricaRevisted pointed at governance challenges“Governments, especially those in Nigeria, are bad managers. Akwa Ibom should not have engaged in business for profit, but should have partnered with an entrepreneur with a successful track record while keeping a minority share and some form of control”.

Instagram had its fair share of sentiments concerning JSM closure, @mayorofherts, blamed Nigeria’s unstable economic environment for driving away businesses “This is what happens when you have a country with unstable policies, high inflation and unstable currency valuation. It’s the same reasons other international / multinationals left. The ease of doing business is becoming increasingly difficult!”.

@itsogeestheory questioned the sustainability of local enterprises under such challenging conditions: “Another one, now where are those saying multinationals like GSK and P&G’s ending trading activities in Nigeria is good for local companies? How do you now justify this one? As I said, something is fundamentally wrong. Firms don’t just invest capital to fold up or leave the country. If MNEs would struggle, what is now the fate of local firms? This is so worrisome!”.

Both pointed out the broader issue of Africa’s economic vulnerability and the need for more supportive policies.

@tbabs_aymaa highlighted the plight of the jobless workers: “ Imagine how many plunged into the abyss of unemployment.”

@cappynatty criticized the misplaced priorities that led to investment in churches instead of local businesses. “ When there are no good policies in place and implementation on how to protect local companies against imported products…it’s sad what they can do is to invest billions on church project…”