The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has tasked the Federal Government of Nigeria on enhancing the productive capacity of the nation.
The Association made this known in MAN CEOs Confidence Index for fourth quota 2020.
“Beginning with 2021 therefore, it is imperative that the management of the macro economy is approached more pragmatically and the development of the productive capacities of nation enhanced intentionally. It is therefore, pertinent that economic managers of the country pay attention to the measures and recommendation contained in this report to address the identified challenges and points of low confidence with a view to restoring manufacturing to the path of meaningful growth in 2021”, stated MAN.
Manufacturers identified myriads of challenges that confronted the sector in the fourth quarter of 2020 which are listed to include difficulty in accessing forex, high cost of electricity/power, high cost of transportation, regulatory issues, poor port administration and scarcity of raw materials, Low demand/sharp reduction in household purchasing power/Reduction on local patronage and high cost of Raw material/Unavailability of raw-materials.
Others are high cost of shipment, high government taxes, levies and charges, Poor economic support infrastructure/Bad road networks, lack of funds/Poor access to funds, gridlock at the national ports/congestion at the national ports, current economic recession/poor business condition, COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, high inventory, over-regulation by government agencies and persistent restriction of importation of milk products.
Mansur Ahmed, President, MAN.
The Association stated that some of these challenges are perennial while the other are thrown up by COVID-19 pandemic and EndSARS demonstration. However, the following measures were recommended by manufacturers on how Government can address these challenges.
On difficulty in accessing forex: government should grant concessional FX allocation at the official rate to manufactures for importation of productive inputs that are not locally available, carry out swift approval of Usage of FX sourced outside the official market for manufacturers and fast rack the unification of all FX windows in the country.
On high cost of Electricity/Power, government should reverse the current increment in electricity tariff and focus more on improving generation, distribution and efficient use of available electricity.
On High cost of transportation, it said, increase the provision of public transport system, upscale trade facilitation infrastructure at the ports and encourage the use of other ports outside Lagos.
On Regulatory Issue, the Association urges government to direct all Regulatory Agencies, especially Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration & Control (NAFDAC) to reduce their respective administrative charges (Pre-COVID-19 rates) payable by manufacturing concerns by 50%.
On Poor Port Administration, there should be Improvement on the wait time to clear container/cargoes clearance at the ports; Install sound trade facilitation equipment at the ports such as scanners, reduce the various port charges and remove demurrage for delayed clearance and resuscitate available rail tracks, construct new ones and link them to industrial hubs.
On scarcity of raw- materials, it said government should select strategic product for backward integration and upscale the drive for resource-based industrialization agenda, develop the production machine, iron and steel and petrochemical sectors to support manufacturing.
The Association maintained that if all these challenges listed above are addressed, the real sector would be better as Nigeria cannot achieve economic growth without a vibrant real sector.