“We are pleading with the Federal Government to reconsider the outright ban on production and importation of codeine and tramadol because of the negative consequences on our sector.”
Organised labour, under the umbrella of the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), yesterday, in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, warned that an estimated 25,000 workers could lose their jobs in the Chemical and Non-Metallic sector of the economy following the recent ban on importation and production of codeine and tramadol by the Federal Government.
The President of NUCFRLANMPE, Mr. Babatunde Olajunji, in his address at the opening of a week-long 27th annual industrial relations seminar, said that already employers have indicated their plans to downsize because of the ban. He pleaded with the government to review the outright ban and restrict the production, importation and use to avoid the looming job losses as the sector was already struggling to cope with harsh economic reality of today.
He said: “We are pleading with the Federal Government to reconsider the outright ban on production and importation of codeine and tramadol because of the negative consequences on our sector. As we speak, the jobs of over 25,000 direct workers are at risk.
“Some of our employers have given their indication to downsize because of this development. The nation cannot afford to go ahead with a policy that has the potential to throw over 25,000 workers into the saturated labour market.” According to him, the implications may be too grave to contend with, even as he said that it has security and other implications especially because of army of jobless and able-bodied youths and men who may become willing tools ahead of the 2019 general elections.
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“All we are pleading is for the government to regulate and enforce their usage on medical reasons. The law enforcement agencies and other regulatory authorities should enforce their production, importation as well as usage and deal with those who abuse their uses including those who sell them to unauthorised users,” he said. He had emphasised that the ban, because of its abuses by some unscrupulous individuals and groups, was affecting the sector harshly.
He noted that, “the outright ban without considering its implications on the health of genuine users who use them for the treatment of mild and severe pains arising from bone complications, among others, should be of concern to the government.
“The ban has adversely affected the pharmaceutical companies that are using them for the production of other drugs. We believe that the best solution would have been to outlaw its sales over the counter and ensure its strict compliance by the appropriate law enforcement and regulatory agencies.”