High cost of gas lowers production by 70 per cent, say manufacturers
Production in construction and building industry has been lowered to an all time low of 70 percent because of the high cost of gas.
Besides, the policy of government to charge local gas supply in dollars may have triggered a 25 percent increase on locally produced building materials, thereby stifling their competitive advantage over the imported ones.
This was disclosed in Lagos on recently by the Managing Director of Mallinson and Partners, producers of floor tiles and plastics, Afam Mallinson Ukatu, at the opening of the firm’s building mart.
Speaking on behalf of building materials’ manufacturers, Ukatu lamented that the nation’s energy crisis occasioned by pipeline vandalism has forced many manufacturing firms to operate below capacity.
According to him, the country may not attain its dream of manufacturing her local building materials, if the issues of energy, gas and access to funds with lower interest rates are not addressed.
He said: “Nigerians are coming up with local manufacturing of building materials with help of foreigners but that is not as expected.
Nigeria has what it takes to manufacture for her local consumption.
“I expect us to have goods manufactured in Nigeria by Nigerians and not goods manufactured in Nigeria by Indians. That is what we are trying to correct now. It happened in China, where Taiwanese manufactured goods in China. Today, it is goods made in China by Chinese that is what we want in Nigeria”.
Identifying power as the major problem of manufacturing, he said, people don’t want to invest in construction and manufacturing because of epileptic power supply and unfavourable government policies.
He however stressed that his firm has been able to bridge the gap, by venturing into manufacturing instead of resorting to importation.
He therefore called on government to do more to encourage local manufacturers by creating a parallel interest rate for manufacturers different from that of importers since the Bank of Industry (BoI) cannot do it all.
Ukatu, who have been in manufacturing in the last nine years with two factories in Agbara in Ogun state, said, the vision of the mart was to have a one-stop shop, where people can purchase quality building materials at competitive price.