……We will continue to encourage backward integration aimed at encouraging resource-based industrialisation
Frank Udemba Jacobs, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) commends the Federal Government for its efforts at improving the current economic situation and for all the steps being taken to pull the economy out of recession. Noteworthy are the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is aimed at deepening the diversification and backward integration of the economy, and the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) with the mandate to improve the Ease of Doing Business (EOBD) in the country. No doubt these would lead to enhanced productivity and overall performance of the manufacturing sector, he added.
Frank Udemba Jacobs, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria
According to the statement, an assessment and verification of the performance score card of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) 60-Day National Action Plan revealed that 70% of its seven points objective set in line with the World Bank Indices of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) has been achieved within the set timeline. The Council scored above 60% performance on six objectives and only one recorded a low score of 33%. Overall, the performance of the Council is an indicator of other developments that would come from the Council. We are hopeful that the processes and procedures required to fully actualize these objectives would be effectively implemented so as to permanently remove constraints to the EODB and improve the global ranking of Nigeria by the World Bank.
MAN therefore urges the Federal Government to sustain and consolidate all the achievements recorded within this short period by removing all trade facilitation constraints and attract foreign capital inflow to the country. Government should also ensure that other aspects of the objectives that are currently Work-In-Progress are properly implemented with a view to improving Nigeria’s competitiveness. On our part, we will continue to encourage our members and other investors to take advantage of these initiatives to increase their investments.
To enable the private sector effectively key-in and benefit from an over-all lower cost business environment, Jacobs said there is the need for Government to expand the scope of this programme and take cognisance of other constraints to businesses as follows:
- Address the cumbersome procedures and exorbitant administrative charges of Government Regulatory Agencies;
- Harmonise multiple taxes and levies across the three tiers of Government;
- Encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to regularly hold stake-holders consultative fora where the private sector can be briefed on activities of MDAs;
- Deepen the existing reforms by including indices that will effectively enforce the reduction in the cost of doing business;
- Develop other easily verifiable platforms for the simplified VISA on arrival and submission process because what is currently available is just an e-mail address which is not sufficient for effective performance evaluation;
- Expand the set objectives under “getting electricity” to include those that would address the challenges of electricity inadequacy, improper pricing and metering;
- Examine the performance level of the special funding windows provided by Government for businesses with a view to addressing the current poor access to credit;
- Eliminate all forms of road blocks set up by commissioned revenue collection agents of Government in active connivance with security agencies on the highways;
- Improve on the websites that are currently not operator-friendly and make them more interactive;
- Implore Government institutions like NBET, TCN, GENCOs and NERC to resolve the dispute between manufacturers and the Discos to avert the failure of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry;
- Review and effectively monitor the implementation of all activities under “trading across borders” which operators confirmed is yet to be implemented;
- Streamline the duplication of mandates and functions of Government Regulatory Agencies;
- Sustain the positive trend of crafting appropriate policies and infrastructure upgrade to reduce the cost of doing business to the barest minimum.
The President further noted that, “one can objectively say that Government has done well in its efforts to advance the EODB and there seems to be a reasonable improvement in the business environment. However, Government needs to expand the scope of the Ease Of Doing Business programme to enable business fully reap the dividend of the exercise as the goal is not just to improve the country’s ranking but to genuinely impact businesses positively. Hopefully, the economy will be redirected to the path of full recovery and sustained growth in due course.
“Manufacturers remain unwavering in our belief that there is no other way to expand the economic frontiers of Nigeria and create employment opportunities for millions of our youths than by creating a friendlier business operating environment for manufacturing to thrive.
“We will continue to encourage backward integration aimed at encouraging resource-based industrialisation and elimination of the current import dependency of our industries adding that the Association, as always, is open to further engagement.