PORT-AU-PRINCE — As the general state of insecurity grows across Haiti’s capital, businesses and factories are in danger of closing their doors, putting thousands of workers at risk of unemployment in the coming weeks, according to a trade association representative.
Georges Sassine, president of the Industrial Association of Haiti, or ADIH, told The Haitian Times that many companies are about to stop their operations permanently due mainly to Haiti’s chronic insecurity. Other reasons interrupting the normal course of business operations include dysfunction at the customs agency, inability to export items and daily violence carried out by gangs with no help from law enforcement to restore order.
“About 10,000 people will lose their jobs in factories,” Sassine said. “At the end of June, the situation will worsen in companies.”
Sassine based the estimated job loss on exchanges of information in meetings with factory managers, particularly on the situation of the country. Many companies are not able to make deliveries throughout the country, Sassine said, causing a drop in revenue. Sales have plunged to 50%.
“The government is charging us more taxes, while it fails to provide us with basic services and any guarantee of our safety or that of the general people,” Sassine added.
Major companies that have closed so far include Horizon, a Dominican pants company based at the National Society of Industrial Products (SONAPI) factory park. Dominique St. Elois, a union advocate, said 900 people are unemployed as a result of the closure.
“There hasn’t been any reaction from the State to this situation,” St. Elois said. “The downside is factory representatives neither gave an explanation nor paid the workers their three months salary.”
Some workers have told The Haitian Times their employers are closing, but ADIH has not confirmed which companies have formally shuttered.