The leadership of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) acknowledged President Mohammadu Buhari for his readiness to promote manufacturing in Nigeria and has again assured manufacturers of your commitment to drive economic growth through improved performance of the manufacturing sector.
Engr. Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in his address Presented during Advocacy visit to President Buhari in December last year at the State House, Abuja
MAN, President reiterated that president Buhari’s esteemed association with us as we marked our 50th Anniversary and hosted our 49th Annual General Meeting. According to him the twin event was held in October this year and you graciously directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to represent you when your official foreign trip made in impossible for you to attend in person. Our Association chose the occasion to rebrand! We now have a new Logo, Vision and Mission Statements, which was launched by the Secretary to the Government. It will be our pleasure to present the new logo to your Excellency with the during this visit!
Secondly, “we seize this unique opportunity to commend you for all your efforts at maintaining the sovereignty of our nation and restoring the economy to the path of recovery and sustainable growth on two occasions, in the last six years. We identify the progress made in infrastructure development; various reforms on the Ease-of-Doing-Business; and exemplary leadership in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 evidenced by relative low number of infection and fatalities when compared with many other countries in the worldThe President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr Ahmed Mansur said we do not wish to bore you with the plethora of familiar challenges confronting the manufacturing sector. MAN has proactively articulated remedial measures for these challenges in the Blueprint for Accelerated Development of Manufacturing in Nigeria, which will be formally presented to your excellency within the first quarter of 2022.
According to him, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria appreciates that the Federal Government has addressed some of these challenges while others are receiving the attention of the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.
However, permit me your Excellency to highlight a few that could be addressed in the immediate term in order to improve the manufacturing operating environment:
Inadequate Supply of Forex:
Manufacturers have been finding it difficult to source forex for importation of machines and raw materials that are not available in the country. Whilst we commend and support the recent CBN policy on non-allocation of forex to BDCs, we are constrained to observe that it has not translated into any meaningful improvement in supply of forex to manufacturers. We therefore request for the intervention of Your Excellency to ensure the prioritization of allocation for the purpose of importing raw materials and vital machine and equipment that are not available locally. In addition, we request that your excellency to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment to engage the Association to find ways of driving forex to the manufacturing sector.
Inadequate Electricity Supply:
Manufacturers still contend with inadequate electricity supply from the national grid and high electricity tariff from Distribution Companies coupled with the enormous cost of providing alternative energy at over N72.7billion, thereby limiting the competitiveness of manufacturing in Nigeria. While commending the Government for the ongoing reform in the power sector, we implore your Excellency to direct that the NERC should remove all the bottlenecks inhibiting manufacturers access to the Eligible Customer Scheme. As a matter of policy, significant amount of the 2000 MW stranded electricity in the system can be made available to manufacturers through this scheme.
Poor Access to Long term fund:
Your Excellency, limited access to long term loans and high cost of loanable funds are also jointly restraining the ability of the sector to produce at full capacity and adversely affecting the contribution of manufacturing to the Gross Domestic Product. We applaud the efforts of Government aimed at resolving these issues through various stimulus packages, but regret to note that genuine and deserving manufacturers are not able to access the funds. We therefore recommend that a monitoring and evaluation platform involving the private sector be set up to oversight the allocation of these funds. This will ensure that the funds are judiciously allocated to genuine manufacturers have access to these incentives.
Patronage of Made in Nigeria Goods and Local Content Development:
Your Excellency, we commend the wisdom of your administration instituting Executive Orders 003 and 005 on patronage of made in Nigeria goods and development of local content. We humbly request that Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government we mandated to strictly prioritize the patronage of made in Nigeria items in all their purchases and contracts. In the same vein, we urge Mr. President, as the chairman of the Presidential Motoring Committee for Implementation of Executive Order 005 to direct that the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation to inaugurate the Secretariat that will implement the strategies for the Executive Order. As a test case of this initiative, we humbly request that Mr President direct SON to certified local manufacturers of LPG Gas Cylinders be specifically designated as priority provider of the 10 million Cooking Gas Cylinders to be procured by the Federal Government for 12 States in the Federation.
Looming increases in Tax Rate:
Mr. President we are deeply concerned about imminent increase in taxes, duty rates and excise duty particularly for Food and Beverages sub-sector. This is because the affected sub-sectors are currently groaning under multiple taxes, levies and fees from the different tiers of Government and the disposable income of the average Nigerian is already eroded causing high inventory of unsold manufactured products. While appreciating that Government needs to generate funds to meet its rising social and economic obligations, we strongly opine that it is the tax base that should be expanded to capture the untaxed. The existing genuine and diligent corporate taxpayers should net be overburdened as this could be counterproductive and the envisaged increased revenue may not be realized.
African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agreement:
I want to most sincerely appreciate Your Excellency for ensuring that proper consultation and sensitization was carried out before the signing of the AfCFTA Framework Agreement. Now that we have signed, ratified and deposited the instrument of ratification at the repository, the National Action Committee (NAC) should be effectively supported to continue to vigorously engage the private sector and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to accelerate the putting in place of all structures required for beneficial trade.
In this regard, we implore Government to urgently embark on the following: establish the Designated Competent Authority that will superintend the administration of Rules of Origin and Commission the automation of the Certificate of Origin, export and import documentation processes for AfCFTA transactions;
In conclusion, Engr Mausur said I will like to specially thank you for the numerous initiatives, reforms and policies that have helped to steady the course of manufacturing in Nigeria. Government however needs to sustain the implementation of policies that have helped the economy to quickly recover from recession, survive the onslaught of COVID-19 and revive other initiatives that have suddenly gone quiescent.
MAN is full of expectations that Government will continue to make Manufacturing a centerpiece of its economic agenda and the enabler for upscaling national output, employment and wealth creation. This is because of its very strong and productive linkages with Agriculture, Petrochemical and Solid minerals beneficiation.
Mr President, I have no doubt that with your kind support we shall accelerate the building of a resilient manufacturing sector in Nigeria in the best interest of the economy and over two hundred million Nigerians, said Mansur.