CICAN urges FG to create enabling environment for manufacturers, OPS
Chairperson of the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN), Charles Okonji, has urged the new administration to, as a matter of urgency, rescue the manufacturing industry from total collapse, adding that many businesses are hanging on by a thread.
Lamenting the present harsh business climate, he called on government at all levels to revamp the country urgently. Speaking at an agenda-setting seminar for the new administration and investiture of CICAN new executives, he said: “Inflation rate according to the government is over 20 per cent but our findings show that it is well over 50 per cent. Goods are lying fallow on shelves and warehouses because purchasing power is at an all-time low. Government must create an enabling environment for manufacturers who are struggling so much, they’re not healthy, yet are still being taxed formally and informally.”
He urged the incoming government to honestly address the ease of doing business, build a smart economy, secure the lives and property of companies and ordinary citizens and protect the media.
Past president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and current vice chair (Africa), the World Chamber Federation, Toki Mabogunje, said stakeholders are concerned about the country’s development and the many economic issues that businesses and citizens are going through. Urging the government to create a strong economic framework, deepen investment, create mass employment, provide food and energy security and an enabling environment for business sustainability to boost investors’ confidence; she urged the media to keep the government honest and accountable.
She also advised the media to work with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to amplify the voice of businesses to get the government to do what needs to be done.
President, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye, regretted that all parts of the economy are presently in shambles due to various problems they had highlighted in the past. He said these issues have weakened the sector, which was barely surviving before but is now on the verge of total collapse. Multiple taxes, he added, cannot enhance government revenue but would only serve to kill the few remaining industries.
He said the new administration must reverse the 2023 fiscal policy measures that raised excise duties on tobacco and others, address multiple taxations, revisit executive orders 003 and 004 and create special windows for foreign exchange allocation to the sector.
He went on to add that local manufacturers must be supported, the Ajaokuta steel complex must be made viable, power and the motor vehicle must be improved and regular engagement and dialogue with key stakeholders in MAN.
The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) President, John Udeagbala, on his part, urged the new administration to enact policies that will not only help the manufacturing sector and OPS but revive the economy as well.