The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), is now producing under excruciating environment following inadequate power supply which has increased demand for gas as alternative source of power generation.
The National Chairman of Non Metallic Mining Group of MAN, Mr. Afam Mallinson Ukatu, who expressed this concern over the increase in the price of gas regretted that this is coming when the global economy is facing challenge.
Ukatu said; “The pandemic is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, it is ravaging the global economy, but I expected the government to give palliative to manufacturers to cushion the resultant effect of the pandemic instead of the commodity price going up.
“We have been complaining that we are being charged in Dollar for consuming gas locally and nothing has been done to reverse the ugly trend. I have been complaining about this over the years at the parent organisation (MAN) for a very long time that the trend should be reversed and also for the government to look into it.
“It is very painful that gas, which is gotten from our soil is being sold to us in US Dollars. We are being charged according to the exchange rates. Now that the exchange rate has gone, following the technical devaluation of the Naira, and scarcity of Forex, the increase has come again when we are asking for what palliative the government should give us to ameliorate our situation, and to enable us pay salaries, gas bills and offset some bill that accumulated during the lockdown. We were also looking at the government to give us some relief for one year or more, but what we are getting is increased gas price. This is not done in any part of the world, it is only in Nigeria that this is happening and it is quite unfortunate.’
He pointed out that irrespective of the cost of production is going high, that cost of moving raw materials from mining site to the factory is extremely expensive due to in-accessible roads occasioned by the rainy season.
Ukatu said that the current price of gas has pushed the cost of production up by over 30 over percent, stressing that they are losing huge amount on the daily bases.
“In 2019, we were advised not to pay the actual gas bills that the government has given some incentives to some sectors like the textile sector. So we asked a question, why was textile the only considered sector while there are other sectors that are purely producing made in Nigeria goods which are neglected. However, as we speak, the textile sector has even gotten that discount. I am amazed that the government who is supposed to be encouraging us in other to employ more people is behaving this way. This is however a deterrent to intending investors,” he sressed.
According to Dr. Micheal Adebayo, Chairman, Oil and Gas Sectoral Group of MAN, the sector is working in collaboration with the Federal Government to revert the payment of gas consumed locally from Dollar to Naira.
Adebayo noted that the government has set up a committee to hamonise the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as gas pricing for local consumption has been included in the PIB.
He pointed out that the delay experienced is to amend it once and for all, emphasizing that the bill is at the stage of becoming a legal document which would likely be passed into law and possibly implemented before the end of 2020.
He said; “The government is working to make sure that gas is available for domestic consumption at all times and must be sold in Naira. Before the end of 2020, the PIB must have been implemented and once this is done, we would enjoy maximum benefit and the nation’s economy would experience boom, because more consumers of gas would emerge and gas would become more relevant to the Nigerian economy that oil.”