L:R: Director Corporate Services Division of MAN, Mr Ambrose Oruche, Chairman,Corporate Affairs and Strategic Planning Committee, Mrs Kofo Akinkugbe,President of MAN, Otunba Francis Meshioye, Public Relations Executive of MAN, Mrs Omotayo OKEWUNMI, and the Director General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir,mni, at the press conference preceding the 51st Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria
By Ebere Obike
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has decried the cost of manufacturing that is rising daily owing to scarce and unavailable manufacturing inputs that shrinks profitability and threaten the existence of critical sector of the economy.
The President of MAN, Mr Francis Meshioye, made this known at its 51st Annual General Meeting media briefing in Lagos.
Mr. Meshioye expressed regret that the sector that should propel job creation, productivity, and economic growth is trapped with series of challenges that constantly limit its contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
He listed such challenges to include; epileptic power supply, insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, shortage of forex and Naira depreciation.
According to Mr. Meshioye, If Nigeria manufacturers would compete effectively, then a comprehensive and concerted efforts needed to be deployed by the Government to overtake the binding constraints that limit local production.
It must seek to attract foreign investment that will bring about a reduction in the forex chase and ensure sufficient forex inflow.
He said that the solution to the problems are for the government to prioritise investment in infrastructure and power, combat insecurity and corruption as well as introduce incentive policies that would make domestic production more attractive as against the importation of finished products.
Mr Meshioye also noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AfCFTA, window should be maximised in such a way that products manufactured in Nigeria would be the preferred, in terms of quality and pricing.
“It is very important that Nigerians should recognize goods made in Nigeria and the government should set the pace because when government set pace, all others will follow. We are major spenders . If you patronize goods, consumables, speciality groups like automobiles and many other things it will drive the economy. He said.”
According to Mr Meshioye , until they address the binding constraints that make the local products uncompetitive, the benefit of a continental market might end up being a mirage for the largest economy in Africa.
The Director General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi Kadiri, expressed regret that about 60% of their members have closed shops in the last six years as a result of insecurity in the north east.
Mr Ajayi Kadiri who pointed out that insecurity disrupts their logistics and supply chains, explained that even when the manufacturers finish producing, to get them to the far North was a challenge.
“We also know that the border was closed for some time, Which didn’t allow cross border trade.
So these are challenges that have confronted our operation in the North East. And whether government will take our advice or not, we are partner with government and We can’t even afford to get government to listen to us. He said.”
The theme for the 51st AGM is: “Setting the Agenda for Competitive Manufacturing Under the AFCFTA: What Nigeria Needs to do”.