The leadership of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria has, again, lamented the lack of access to foreign exchange, which it says is crippling the country’s economy in addition to growing insecurity and complexities in the clearing of goods at the ports.
It also identified limited prospects for ease of doing business as another key impediment for the manufacturing sector in the country.
Mansur Ahmed, national president of MAN, brought these issues to the fore at the 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Cross River/Akwa Ibom State branch of the association held in Uyo. He had called on the Federal Government to “make favourable and implementable economic policies that will encourage and promote manufacturing in the country.”
According to him, the Federal Government through a deliberate policy should encourage the “consumption of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services at the lowest cost in order to grow the Nigerian economy to enviable levels.”
Delivering a lecture on “Challenges of FX Sourcing: The Manufacturers Perspective, Export Windows Available and Thinking Outside the Box”, Soni Oseghale, the Calabar Regional Head, Nigerian Export – Import Bank (NEXIM), said the preference for US dollars in transactions in the country was hurting the economy as it has resulted in more devaluation of the local currency.
“Nigerians are killing the economy with the continuous preference to transact business with Dollars and other foreign currencies. It is driving inflation and making the naira less available for the common man,” he said. “This has made the situation worse for manufacturers as they are only able to get 5% of the foreign exchange they want from the banks which is hampering the growth of the Nigerian economy and the manufacturing industry”.
He further said Nigerians should leverage on the vast amount of natural resources in the country and exploit them to balance and eliminate the importation dependence. According to him, “Nigeria is blessed with so many natural resources especially in the agricultural sector. We can package them and export and improve our economy as well. Everything should not be about oil. This is possible. Manufacturers should think outside the box”.
“To solve our heavy import culture, manufacturers in particular and Nigerians in general should produce and add value to their products and equally take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area to help their exportation desires.”
Giandomenico Massari, chairman, Cross River/Akwa Ibom State branch of MAN, in his welcome address said the branch was fast becoming a hub for manufacturing in the country as members of the branch are not only producing for consumption in the country but are now household names in the international market.
The Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards of excellence to some deserving manufacturers in the branch.