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Why local manufacturers insist on protectionist policies, by MAN

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Frank Jacobs, MAN President

Local manufacturers have insisted on government providing adequate infrastructure and an enabling environment before opening up the markets for free trade as well as initiating levies and tariffs.

According to the manufacturers, cost of production in the country is presently high and makes products lack competitiveness in terms of price when compared to imported products.

At a Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) of 14 per cent, the manufacturers lamented high interest rates on facilities granted to them by financial institutions when their counterparts from other countries access loans at single digit rates.

President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Jacobs in a chat with journalists on government’s position on trade policies said that while manufacturers are not oblivious of the benefits inherent in installing trade agreement that could improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development, Nigeria’s national interest should however be the primary consideration in the decision to sign-on to such an arrangement.

“Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit will further impoverish the country when we open the local markets to other countries. We do not have steady power among other basic infrastructure, yet we want to open the markets up for free trade. If these issues are addressed, manufacturers will compete favourably”, he added.

On the proposed excise duty on alcohol and tobacco products, MAN called on the Federal Government to forget the proposal, saying if it goes ahead to implement the proposal; the firms producing the products will shut down and increase job losses.

Though the minister explained that the new tariff regime came about following an all-inclusive meeting between the Tariff Technical Committee of the Federal Ministry of Finance and key industry stakeholders, Jacobs, however, said that the association was still engaging the government on the issue.

He stated, “During the last presidential engagement forum, I talked about the impact of this excise duty increase on the manufacturing sector. I made it clear that if they go ahead and implement that policy, within the three years when that policy will be in full force, many of the companies that are involved in those product must close shops.”



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