• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MAN seeks increased FX allocation to manufacturers

Manufacturers association rallies support for made-in-Nigeria products

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Thursday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allocate a substantial amount of forex to its members to enable them import raw materials and machineries.

Okwara Udensi, chairman, MAN, Edo/Delta branch, said as a result of “forex shortage”, manufacturing companies are unable to access dollar at official rate for importation of raw materials, hence they are left with no choice but to patronise the parallel market at a higher rate.

Speaking at the 36th annual general meeting of the association, themed “Nigeria’s struggling economy/unstable macroeconomic policies: lessons and challenges for the manufacturing sector,” Udensi said the sector was facing numerous challenges and needed urgent bailout to avoid total collapse.

He equally raised concerns over the high lending interest rates by commercial banks, multiple taxes and levies by government agencies, low patronage of made-in-Nigeria products which is militating against the smooth operation of the sector and limiting manufacturers from contributing to the growth of the economy.

“It is us our expectation that these identified challenges be addressed by the government to move the country from an import-dependent to a self-sufficient and export-based country. This can only be made possible with consistency in government policies that guarantee the required enabling environment so that manufacturers are able to operate at minimum capacity.

Read also: BDCs seeks CBN; support to meet retail end FX demand

“The sector is facing a lot of challenges and the government of Nigeria has not given the sector the needed support to provide economic growth and development. We are confident that with the political will and the right policies by government, these issues can be resolved without delay,” Udensi said.

Corroborating, Mansur Ahmed, president of the association, called on the government to prioritise allocation of forex to the manufacturing sector and urged the apex bank to direct the commercial banks to transparently process forex applications by manufacturers.

Ahmed further called on the government to urgently convene a strategic meeting with key operators in Nigeria to deliberate and craft a national strategic response to the disruptive impact occasioned by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on the global supply value chain.

“We believe that this will help to identify viable options to ameliorate the impact of the disruption; agree on ways to assuage other pain points in the business environment; activate innovative solutions to familiar and emerging macroeconomic and infrastructure challenges and generally point the direction for resilience in the economic ecosystem,” Ahmed said.

Mercy Anyiwe, a professor of Economics, University of Benin (UNIBEN), while delivering her lecture, urged the manufacturers to leverage on technology, saying that the lack of technology innovation was limiting Nigerian manufacturers from progressing in the global market.