MAN blames government policies for declining manufacturing growth
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has blamed the Federal Government’s inconsistent policies for the declining growth of the nation’s manufacturing sector.
According to MAN, the declining growth rate is not unconnected to the policies that are inimical to sector development, noting that manufacturing concerns, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have closed shops.
The MAN president, Engr. Mansur Ahmed, at a press conference to announce its 50th yearly general meeting (AGM) scheduled to hold on October 17, 2022, lamented that poor policies, especially on tax and unavailability of finance for investment and operations have impacted the sector negatively.
He added: “The impact of poor policies, negative policies have tremendously affected the industry, there has been a significant decline in the growth rate of the sector, and serious stagnation in capacity utilisation. Tax policies and unavailability of finance for operations have impacted the industry very negatively.”
He, however, stated that the theme of the 50th AGM tagged “An Agenda for Nigeria’s Industrialisation for the Next Decade” is borne out of the need to take stock of the nation’s journey to industrialisation, to ascertain the pains and to highlight the performance limiters; recognise the gains and growth milestones and to identify the learning curves and hurdles ahead.
He added that over the years, the performance of the manufacturing sector has been constrained by numerous familiar challenges that are espoused in MAN’s numerous presentations and submissions to the government.
Ahmed said it is a matter of great concern to its members that even as the economy continues to experience very slow growth, policymakers at all levels continue to compound the situation by introducing new taxes, further worsening the difficult and high-cost operating environment.
“In some cases, when the economy slows down, the government reduces taxes to encourage businesses to expand, create more jobs and increase economic activities. What we are seeing in Nigeria today is not only increasing the tax rate but introducing new taxes and turning every public agency into a revenue collector. Amid the challenges, we are resilient and would soldier on with advocacy for a conducive atmosphere for the operation of the manufacturing business in Nigeria. We will continue to work towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an environment that promotes competitiveness,” he averred.
On the recent threat by the Kogi State government to shut down the Dangote Cement in Obajana area of the State, he said it is indeed worrisome, pointing out that it is a matter of concern that a state government will take measures to shut down a plant that provides job opportunities, economic activities on a very large scale for the people of Kogi State.
“The action appears to be taken by the government and it is alleged to be from payment of taxes that have not been made or recovered from the company,” he said.
He added that the move is illegitimate, pointing out that if the State government has any issue against any member of its association or corporate citizen, the appropriate thing to do is to take the member to court.
“You cannot use strong-arm tactics to shut them down or impose very severe restrictions on their operations simply to force them. This is illegal and I believe that what has happened will not happen in a normal operating environment,” he said.
He said the association has taken up the matter with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in its bid to help address the anomaly.
“We have no reason not to pay taxes to the Kogi State government as and when due and I am aware that Dangote Industries is one of the highest taxpayers in Nigeria, but if indeed for whatever reason that there is a tax for the Kogi State government on Dangote, it has measures and ways of recovering and there is no justification to threaten the closure of that industry. We are opposed to that kind of measure because there are ways to resolve this amicably in a legal manner and we hope that the relevant authorities in both the federal and state levels would intervene to ensure that this kind of action is not repeated,” he said.