The President, Manufacturers Association Of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, made this known at the 2021 Edition Of The Man Reporter Of the Year Award/Presidential Media Luncheon held in Lagos.
“On behalf of the National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, I am pleased to inform you that our great Association will be marking its 50th Anniversary this year with series of activities and events. In due time, we will intimate you on the line of programmes as we count on your support in terms of wide coverage for a landmark celebration of this nature”, he said.
He however stated that the year 2020 was indeed quite challenging partly due to some perennial issues bedeviling the sector and others thrown up by COVID-19 pandemic and the hijacked EndSARS demonstration which placed immense pressure on the social and economic structures of the economy.
“Significant amongst the challenges faced by manufacturers are difficulty in accessing forex to procure raw materials not locally available, high cost of electricity/power, high cost of transportation, low demand of commodity and difficulty in accessing funds. Others are,regulatory Issue from numerous regulatory agencies, poor port administration and unavailability of raw materials and policy somersaults”, he added.
The implication of these challenges highlighted according to him is that it impedes the growth and development of the manufacturing sector, thereby affecting the attainment of the sector’s full potential of massive job and wealth creation.
“Nonetheless, MAN commends the Government on the decision to reopen the land borders for ease of trade engagements particularly under the implementation phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, which took effect from January 1, 2021”, stated the President.
The MAN boss stated that the AfCFTA has the potential to build Africa’s capacity to manufacture and change the narrative of African economy and give Africa a stronger voice and positioning in the global economy as we go on.
“More so, I am confident that there will be a tremendous opportunity for growth and development for each and every one if the countries that signed this agreement are willing to come together to make it a success. But this cannot come without challenges”, stressed the president.
“A possible challenge that stares us in the face is the issue of dumping. The dumping issue frankly is a matter of political will. Do our governments and political leaders have the political will to agree on those things that we have to do? For instance, to ensure that we do not allow dumping to take place, there is need to ensure that all countries operate based on the rule of origin that has been agreed. But the difference is that while some countries will ensure that these regulations are complied with, others unfortunately will not do so”, he maintained.
This according to him calls for effective monitoring mechanism to be put in place to ensure that all countries do the right thing.
“At the level of the Association, we have conducted series of webinar workshops for our members to get them fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are imbedded in the agreement; while we trust that the Nigerian government will play its part to put adequate measures in place for a beneficial trade agreement. We look forward to an effective National Action Committee on the AfCFTA”, he stated further.
“From our quarterly research, aggregate Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index, MCCI, shows that the CEOs confidence oscillated under the 50 neutral points: 44.4 points in Q1; 40.2 points in Q2: 43.3 points in Q3; and then 42.06 in Q4 2020”.
The trend according to him is a strong indication of lack of confidence of manufacturers in the economy in the whole of 2020 and that the manufacturing sector is indeed gasping for breath.
“As we project for improvement in 2021, it is imperative that the management of the macro economy is approached more pragmatically and the development of the productive capacities of nation is intentionally enhanced”, he opined.