The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has said its focus would remain driving measures and expanding partnerships to ensure Nigeria’s industrialization objective is achieved.
President of the Association, Mansur Ahmed while speaking at the 2nd Adeola Odutola lecture to commemorate the 50th Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the MAN, in Lagos, said the theme of the AGM “An Agenda for Nigeria’s Industrialization in the next decade” is necessitated by the need to take stock of its journey into industrialization so far to ascertain the pains and pain-points, highlight performance limiters, recognize the gains and milestones, and to identify learning curves and hurdles for the journey ahead.
Ahmed, said, “Clearly, all of these will enable the Association to craft a robust agenda for resetting industrialization, albeit manufacturing in Nigeria for the next ten years. “We believe that this time horizon is congenial to sustainable industrial development of the country, resonates with the Government extant National Development Plan (2021-2025) and of course easier to monitor.”
He used the occasion to commend efforts of the present administration in the area of road and rail construction projects implementation, the timely passage of the budget, the effective management of the spread of COVID-19, the exemplary leadership in judicious utilization of national resources and the crafting of robust Economic Growth, Development and Sustainability Plans, that cumulatively steered the course of the economy to the path of recovery during turbulent periods of recession.
He further recalled that over the years, the performance of the manufacturing sector has been constrained by familiar challenges that are clearly espoused in our numerous submissions to the Government.
He listed challenges of the manufacturers to include increasing incidence of new tax heads payable by manufacturing concern which he said has become a major threat to the survival of manufacturing companies in diverse ways and essentially responsible for the prevailing increase in the cost of doing business; reduction in investment inflow and additional pain points on manufacturers.
The expectation of manufacturers is that Government, going forward, would properly structure the tax system to be more progressive by widening the tax net, harmonizing business taxes/levies and putting in place a comprehensive and integrated framework that will facilitate the intentional movement of operators in the informal sector to the formal sector.
Ahmed also said that inadequate access to forex for importation of critical inputs that are not available locally has hindered their performance, adding “We are however hopeful that following the stable high crude oil price in recent time, Government would intentionally intervene and ensure that more forex is made available to manufacturers.”
Another challenge is the issue of inadequate supply and high cost of electricity, which is due largely to limited investment in electricity value chain. He said, “We want Government to upscale efforts at improving power generation capacity, to take advantage of the abundant gas resources in the country by promoting more gas fired electricity plants, allow manufacturers to access gas at the prevailing export price and classify manufacturing concerns as strategic user of gas to reduce the current high cost of energy and improve the competitiveness of the sector.”
Speaking further the President said, “The sector has been contending with inadequate credit supply and high cost of borrowing for so long. This has grossly affected investment and utilization of available capacity in the sector. We commend the Government for always making efforts at solving the credit challenge of the sector through the various CBN funding windows. Your Excellency, we are aware that till date only about 20% of the funds has been accessed, which calls for deliberate effort to make the funds accessible to manufacturers, especially at this period of global economic difficulty.
“We commend the efforts of the Government at combating insecurity in the country. No country can successfully industrialize under the siege of insurgence, banditry, kidnapping and other related security vices. Your Excellency, we plead that in mapping out strategies to checkmate insecurity, the industrial areas across the country should be given priority attention.”