With attention now shifting to politics and the forthcoming general elections, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has charged the Federal Government not to abandon ongoing infrastructural projects nationwide. The Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, gave the advice in a chat with New Telegraph in Lagos.
He said that the election should not hinder the implementation of the projects, adding that the next administration too should also key into the projects because of their contributions to the country’s GDP growth. The MAN DG also stated that as it applies to the Federal Government at the national level, the state governments too need to provide infrastructure to spur economic activities and growth in their states. He lauded the just commissioned infrastructural projects by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos State.
In addition, he called on the Federal Government to be sensitive to the massive private investments in various states and be more intentional in creating a stable policy environment. According to him, policy summersault has remained one of the most damaging factors to investor confidence in the country. While reacting to the recent MPR (inflation rate) in the country announced by CBN MPC, the MAN helmsman explained that the increase in the policy rate would put pressure on businesses with the resultant effect of rising operating costs, which can lead to workers’ layoff and low productivity.
“This was our major concern regarding the implementation of more taxes, as provided in the 2022 Finance Bill. “We urge the government to consider streamlining these issues such that they do not swamp businesses and render them unproductive and uncompetitive,” Ajayi-Kadir said, adding that “beyond the rate hikes, policymakers need to consider more actions to increase and stabilise oil production levels to earn more forex. Better coordination of fiscal policies can complement the deployment of monetary instruments by the CBN. “Businesses should also look inwards to source their raw materials instead of waiting for the CBN to allocate forex to them.
“We have consistently advocated for a more friendly policy/business environment that will attract foreign and domestic investment and improve productivity (particular ly domestic food production).” On the state of insecurity nationwide and other malaise, he said: “ While we commend recent strides in dealing with insecurity, we ask for more deployment of technology and surveillance apparatus, particularly as we approach the general elections in weeks. “Weak power supply, scarcity of forex, and expensive logistics due to fuel scarcity are critical issues that must be closely watched and attended to with effective policies and fiscal instruments.”
On MAN’s position on the currency swap, the MAN DG stated that MAN was still canvassing for more extension of time for the country’s cur rency swap, saying the February 10 deadline date won’t make any positive impact on an economy with 132 million people. Ajayi-Kadir lamented that the hype created by the CBN’s currency swap policy in the country had cost the national GDP a setback, as confusion, pains and hardships have trailed the policy among Nigerians with many businesses suffering contractions in the process. He, however, called for more synergy and working collaboration between the apex bank and the deposit money banks (DMBs) to ensure smooth distribution of the new naira notes nationwide.