The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Monday advised the Federal Government on ways to tackle the challenges currently facing the manufacturing sector to grow the nation’s economy.
Dr Frank Jacobs, the President of MAN, gave the advice on Monday in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Jacobs said that due to lack of disposable income in the economy as a result of the delayed budget, manufacturers have inventories of unsold stock, which was detrimental to the growth of any economy.
“Most of our members complained of their unsold stock inventories, because people are not buying their goods, which can be attributed to the delay in the passage of 2018 budget.
“We advise that the National Assembly should hasten the passage of the 2018 budget so that it can be implemented and funds pumped into the system for use,” he said.
The MAN president, however, applauded the efforts and policies of the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in ensuring the availability of foreign exchange for business transactions.
“We no longer complain of running under the weight of lack of foreign exchange to import machineries and raw materials.
“The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has so far done some good works by improving the ease of registration of companies within their short time of running which has positively affected the manufacturing sector.
“In addition, the Federal Government came up with a Council called the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council with over 50 per cent of its members drawn from the private sector by and large the manufacturing sector.
“This means that we are now in the position to make contributions in the policy making decisions of the government, particularly as it affects the manufacturing sector,” he said.
Jacobs said that despite all these positive developments, the manufacturing sector was still very concerned about the infrastructure.
“A situation where you generate your own power for production does not make you competitive, because whatever is produced in this country is produced at a higher cost when compared to other parts of the world.
“The same goes for the transportation system as we still move our good via roads, even the heavy duty goods. Such good which should go by rail lack enough rail lines to carry them.
“There is need to develop the transportation sector to the point where it can support the manufacturing sector and also support the economy,” he said.
Jacobs also advised that a special funding window, which would have a single digit interest rate of about five per cent, should be created for the manufacturing sector.
“This is because of the critical nature and importance of the sector in creating wealth and employment.
“If the government can come up with such policies, more people will be encouraged to go into manufacturing which would in turn lead to a reduction in the unemployment figure,” he said.
The MAN chief also urged the government to look into issues of multiple taxation on businesses, which had over the time, served as a form of discouragement to business owners.
“The situation where a business pays tax at a particular local government and you move to another local government and the business is again expected to pay tax and levies is discouraging.
“The government should find a way to address such issue,” he said.