The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Engr Mansur Ahmed has said that reduce the financial pressure on companies occasioned by COVID-19 by compensating manufacturing concerns that are forced to shut down with 60% of employees’ salaries for at least three months to prevent laying offs of employees and massive unemployment.
He said support manufacturing concerns with existing loan facilities by reviewing the terms, especially reducing interest rates to 5% with 2years moratorium. For manufacturers that are investing in order to scale up production should be granted loans at 5% interest rate for a period of 5 to 7 years. These will no doubt improve liquidity and ramp up productivity in the manufacturing sector in a manner that will cover up for obvious losses due to COVID-19.
Engr Ahmed urged government to prevail on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend its COVID-19 Stimulus packages to manufacturers not covered by existing CBN initiatives. The CBN should also grant manufacturers increased access to Foreign Exchange at pre COVID-19 rate to support the importation of raw materials, machines and spares that are not available locally, he added.
He stated that introduce fiscal measures by waiving import duties on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), other essential products and food related raw materials for one-year effective April 2020
MAN President observed that extend timelines for filing and paying taxes (including excise duty with a provision that it should be based on sales and not production) by 6 months after the economy returns to normalcy.
Also said that government should reverse the Value Added Tax Rate back to the pre 2020 Finance Act rate and reduce the Personal Income Tax to a flat rate of 10% for one-year effective April 2020. According to him, this will improve the disposable income of Nigerian workers, stimulate consumption, promote an upsurge in demand and increase production output.
“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%.
“Direct the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Ports Authority and other related agencies of Government to treat all requests from Manufacturers expeditiously with great sense of responsibility and understanding of the prevailing situation. As a matter of urgency, direct that cargoes containing manufacturing raw materials are cleared swiftly and ensure compliance with additional free days from the terminal and shipping lines to clear the containers to avoid demurrages as already announced.
He also solicited government to grant manufacturers waivers from all demurrages payable between February and July 2020, especially those occasioned by the lockdown directives of Government and others associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CBN should also grant manufacturers increased access to Foreign Exchange to support the importation of raw materials, machines and spares that are not available locally.
MAN, nevertheless, commend the Government for a number of incentives put on the table to reflate the economy.
We consider these initiatives to be in the right direction
“These packages expressed Government’s intention to improve access to affordable long-term loans, sustain manufacturing and further promote inward-looking policies with a view to building a self-reliant economy.
“While looking forward to the release of implementation guidelines for some of the stimulus packages to spell out the conditions/transmission mechanism for their implementation and ensure transparency, the Association will urgently needs to engage the CBN to provide vital information on how banks will be supported to guarantee business continuity and expansion;
The President noted that the current announcement by Government on inflation that is to an upward of 162 pump price, is an additional cost structure for the manufacturing industry. According to him, as you may know, MAN is currently facing a cost structure of about 40%. Towards this end, Government should create a differentiated energy structure for the MAN sector.
We also thank the Government for constructive engagement with MAN on the AfCFTA. However, MAN has some few concerns on the trading Goods Market access, he added.
“There is a major concern on the Rules of Origin. Why MAN appreciates a simple, transparent and flexible Rules of Origin, it is important for extensive engagement with the productive sectors before finalization of the Agreement.