The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has maintained that the manufacturing sector still remains the back- bone of industrialisation. MAN disclosed that it would be pressurising the incoming administration to craft and announce a special policy initiative to address the revival of closed and distressed industries, particularly in the North East where 60 per cent its of its member companies have shut down operations.
The Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who made this known to New Telegraph in a chat in Lagos, said that the association would be shifting focus to revamping the country’s manufacturing sector in the next dispensation. According to him, the country’s manufacturing sector has continued to play in its role to- wards achieving a progressive growth and development in the nation’s economy.
The MAN DG lamented that many of its members had suffered losses and market disruptions to insecurity in the North East region, adding that it would be key for the president- elect to prioritise special policy initiative to address the revival of closed and distressed industries in the country, mostly in the North East region.
Talking further, Ajayi-Kadir explained that there was also the evident inadequacy of needed infrastructure and the myriad of macroeconomic challenges that have constituted binding constraints to the performance of the economy.
With this background, he stated that the new government should not be under any illusion about the need to stop the drift and address the stifling infrastructural deficiencies in the country in order to boost industrial development.
According to him, there are low-hanging fruits, there is also the long-term perspective for stabilising and growing the economy in double digits way. The industrial expert said, already, there was more than 25 per cent dip in sales of manufactured products in the country amidst bad fiscal and monetary policies of government. For instance, Ajayi-Kadir explained that MAN would be canvassing for the new administration to direct the CBN and ensure that it complies with the prioritisation of foreign exchange (forex) to the productive sector, particularly to manufacturers to import raw materials, spares, and machinery that are not locally available.
He further hinted that under the new administration, the association would like to see the new government directing all ministries, departments, and agencies of government to un- failingly comply with Executive Order 003 on the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products.
He said: “In this regard, there should be a strict application of the margin of preference, effective monitoring and periodic evaluation of compliance, and appropriate sanctions meted out to MDAs acting in breach of the executive order.” In the meantime, the association’s DG noted that it would be championing the announcement of a special policy initiative to de-risk manufacturing and unleash adequate funding for the sector through effective funding of special lending windows in the new dispensation.
While speaking on electricity supply, he stressed that MAN wanted the new administration to direct the NERC to admit all qualified applicant companies into the eligible customer scheme in order to allow them access to power as stipulated in the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
In addition, it should also ensure that the Finance Bill 2022, if not assented to before the transition, includes the critical inputs of the organised private sector. “In particular, the jettisoning of the highly objectionable removal of the 10 per cent in- vestment allowance on the acquisition of plants & machinery (in the company Income-tax Act, section 32).
“Additionally, to ensure that the imposition of the 0.5 per cent levy on eligible imports from third countries is limited to goods that we have capacity to produce locally and quite importantly, exclude raw materials that are not locally available,” he added. Similarly, the new dispensation should direct all relevant agencies of government to ensure that the electronic call-up system at ports aimed at re- dressing the congestion works without fail.