Food, beverage employers seek government’s support for growth
Following the importance of the food and beverage industry, employers in the sector have called on the Federal and State governments to ensure food security in the face of adulteration and counterfeiting.
The employer’s group under the aegis of Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), who sought government’s support, maintained that the industry has a unique role in expanding economic opportunities, as it is central to human life and health.
They argued that the industry, being a dominant component of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, needed governments’ collaboration in promoting the required environment to flourish.
The Association at its 41st yearly general meeting said one way to achieve the growth and support is through continuous dialogue from both sides. President of AFBTE, Patrick Anegbe, reviewed the Association’s activities in the last one year within the context of the operating business environment, especially its challenges and impact on members’ companies.
He described the business environment in 2019, as a difficult one, stating that it was sluggish, and brought in its wake, the usual challenges on many fronts, which had negative effects mostly on members companies.
According to him, some of the challenges witnessed during the period included the imposition of various charges levies and taxes among others, by both Federal and State governments and their agencies. These were aimed at shoring up their revenue base in the face of dwindling receipts from crude oil exports; the increasing costs of funds and of running businesses; the difficulty in assessing needed foreign exchange to import raw materials, machinery, equipment and spares among others.
Anegbe mentioned the increasing high cost of labour arising from the upward review of the national minimum wage, and the renewal of collective agreements on salaries and benefits for both junior and senior employees.
He added that the impact of COVID-19 and its attendant effects on the economy portend that the future is bleak for manufacturers. Calling for proactive measures by members companies to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on their businesses, he noted that the development also required clarity and unity of purpose on the part of the government and its agencies.
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