The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commended the Federal Government for directing the Central Bank of Nigeria to allocate substantial percent of available foreign exchange to manufacturers.
Dr Frank Jacobs, President of MAN, made the commendation in an address at the association’s 44th Annual General Meeting in Abuja.
According to him, the directive will assist manufacturers to import raw materials and machinery for their industries.
Jacobs thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
He said the measure had eased the difficulties experienced in sourcing petrol and other industrial fuels.
He also expressed the association’s appreciation to Federal Government for its adoption of flexible foreign exchange policy which had minimally reduced the sourcing of Forex for importation of raw materials.
He expressed gratitude to the government for not adopting the EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement, given the mismatch of the two regions in terms of technology and manufacturing experience.
Jacobs added that accepting the EPA would have spelt doom to the nation’s economy, especially the industrialisation programme which would have been in shambles.
He congratulated President Buhari on his efforts in boosting the infrastructure sector and the efforts of government to end the activities of insurgents in the Northeastern part of the country.
Jacobs said the currency swap with China by the Federal Government was aimed at enhancing the economic growth of the nation.
He commended Dangote Group, Indorama (Eleme) Petro-chemicals Limited which donated N20 and N10 million respectively and many others who donated for the occasion.
Earlier, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who was the Guest Speaker at the event, said “economic diversification is arguably the single most topical issue in Nigeria today”.
He said it was basically aimed at increasing the range of products and services in the economy through domestic value addition.
He said that the objectives of diversification wes to enhance export opportunities for a variety of products and create multiple streams of foreign exchange inflows into the domestic economy.
Dangote explained that the role of government in manufacturing simply was to expand the sector, enhance its productivity and improve its competitiveness.
He added that government embraced industrialisation after independence by putting in place several policies, one of which was Import Substitution.
He said that import substitution was aimed at reducing the importation of finished goods in favour of local production of such products.
He said due to recession, Nigeria should develop other income streams by diversifying its economy since it could no longer depend solely on crude oil exports to fund its economy.
Dangote said that fortunately, Nigeria had huge potential which could propel economic diversification, adding that it had at least 44 known minerals scattered across the length and breadth of the country.
“Indeed, even crops which we would typically associate with temperate regions of the world are known to grow in the highlands of Plateau, Adamawa and Obudu.
“At this juncture it is worth emphasizing that diversifying the Nigerian economy does not mean we should neglect our oil and gas sector.
“On the contrary, the oil and gas sector needs to be deepened and expanded to enable us to unlock the full benefits in the hydrocarbon value chain,’’ he said.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, thanked the association for the event, adding that the occasion would enable them to brainstorm on ways Nigeria would come out of the recession.
He assured that government would create an enabling environment for the manufacturers to do their businesses.