Again, MAN tasks government on favourable policies for viable local manufacturing
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has lamented over the increasingly high-interest rates for manufacturers in the country, noting that made-in-Nigeria goods would continue to be uncompetitive if the interest rate remains at double figures.
Speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of its three-day Made-in-Nigeria exhibition, MAN president, Mansur Ahmed said there is nowhere in the world where manufacturers borrow at 25 per cent to produce and are competitive at the same time, calling on the Federal Government to formulate policies that would attract foreign direct investments into the sector while also encouraging local manufacturers to generate more employment opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.
“The policy environment is the first determinant of the success of our operations, if you have policies that promote local production, such as the Executive orders, backward integration policies and initiatives in the agriculture sector that are being supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), they are all good policies, but we need these policies to be sustained,” he said.
He added: “We also need to ensure that the Federal Government does not make policies today that push us in the right direction and yet make other policies that push us in the wrong direction.
“So, we need to encourage policies in the financial sector that will make credit more affordable and accessible. We also need to promote policies that make the foreign exchange easier to access. We need to encourage those who generate foreign exchange to bring in more foreign exchange.”
He, however, stated that the Presidential Committee on the monitoring of the implementation order 005 should be called to action, stressing that the Committee which is chaired by the President and anchored by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology should be mandated to ensure strict compliance with the order. “Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government that fail to comply with the Executive Order should be sanctioned accordingly,” he advised.
He stated that the three-day exhibition is a demonstration of the capacity of the Nigerian manufacturing sector to produce what Nigeria can consume, maintaining that what is left is for the government and Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods.
“In order to grow the economy, create jobs and increase contribution to government revenue, the manufacturing sector must be supported to scale production through increased capacity utilisation and adequate patronage,” he added.
He assured that MAN and the sector as a whole will rise to the occasion and ensure that it builds on the existing capacities and continues to improve the quality and competitiveness of its product.
He urged its members to take advantage of the opportunities created by the policies of the present administration and the emerging continental market to expand their investment and improve their manufacturing operations and the standard of their products.
“This will guarantee our competitiveness and market penetration in Africa and beyond,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said despite the harsh business environment, manufacturers are resilient to continue production in the midst of unfair competition with smuggled and substandard goods.
He also called on the agencies of government charged with the implementation of Executive Orders 003 and 005 to sharpen their processes, saying that MDAs that do not comply should be held accountable for underperformance.
“I think the time has come for us to put action in these Executive Orders otherwise, we would have raised the hopes of Nigerians and manufacturers and dashed them. All the State and Federal Government must demonstrate leadership by patronising made-in-Nigeria goods,” he averred.
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