Manufacturers Association Suggests Ways to improve Nigeria’s Economy
Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Nigerian Government to implement measures to save the manufacturing sector from collapse and correct the lacklustre performance of the nation’s economy.
Recently, Nigeria’s inflation rate hit a record high of over 19 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Rising cost of goods and services has also had a huge toll on the manufacturing sector.
MAN revealed that the sector was suffering serious challenges including high cost of diesel and other petroleum products, acute shortage and high cost of forex, insecurity, high cost of raw materials, inconsistent government policies, high regulatory compliance cost, gridlock and inadequate infrastructure at the ports.
The President of MAN, Mansur Ahmed, represented by the Vice President, Lagos zone, Francis Meshioye, disclosed this, in Ibadan, at the 39th Annual General Meeting of MAN.
He called on the government to remove the 7.5percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel pending the normalisation of the international supply system.
Availability of Forex
Ahmed noted that among other corrective measures, it was important for the government to prioritise allocation of forex to the manufacturing sector and mandate the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to direct commercial banks to transparently process forex applications by manufacturers.
He asked the government to quickly resolve what it described as complexities surrounding the seamless implementation of the Eligible Customer Initiative to enable manufacturers take advantage of the stranded electricity in the country, demanding a reduction of port charges and removal of demurrage for unduly delayed clearance.
National Strategic Response
Ahmed also reiterated the association’s call on the Federal Government to urgently convene a strategic meeting with key operators in the Nigerian economic space to deliberate and craft a national strategic response to the disruptive impact of the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war on the global supply value chain and its debilitating impact on the nation’s economy.
He stated that such a meeting would help identify viable options to ameliorate the impact of the disruption, agree on ways to assuage other pain points in the business environment and activate innovative solutions to familiar and emerging macroeconomic and infrastructure challenges.
Furthermore, he called on states in the South-West region of Nigeria to institute a more effective and efficient consultative mechanism with MAN, to ensure the sustenance of existing manufacturing companies.
In his remarks, the acting governor of Oyo State, Bayo Lawal, charged MAN to continue to create additions to the manufacturing value chain and liaise with other agencies and stakeholders to ensure that Nigerian products are appealing to Nigerians and foreigners.
Speaking on the topic: “Sustainable Public-Private Partnership: Disruptive Innovation for Inclusive Growth,” the Director of Research, National Institute for Policy and Strategies Studies (NIPPS), Professor Dung Pam Sham, recommended that for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to be an innovation for manufacturing companies, manufacturers should have a good understanding of PPP economy system meant to foster economic growt.
He said this can be achieved by developing new investment opportunities and increasing provision of public goods and services.
He noted that members of MAN must understand the reform objective of the government and policy environment and the legal, regulatory and institutional framework.
In addition, the state and private sector actors must be patriotic in using PPP to build Nigeria, so as to promote inclusive growth.
The Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states Branch Chairman, Lanre Popoola, stated, in his remarks, that businesses are still struggling and environmental factors still pose a challenge to manufacturers.
He lamented that despite all economic policies introduced by various arms of government and their agencies, multiple issues like hike in petroleum prices , unstable power and forex are still very prevalent, making economic planning complicated.