BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, Kaduna
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has identified high interests rate and unfavourable exchange rate as the bane of manufacturing sector survival in Nigeria.
The association also lamented low patronage of made in Nigeria products as a looming danger to the surviving manufacturing industries in the country.
National President of MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs in his address at the 20th Joint Annual General Meeting of Kaduna State Branches of the association said, government has major role to play in growing the economy through patronage of the local manufacturing industry.
According to him, “undoubtedly, government remains the largest single spender in the economy and could drive industrial development and economic growth by increasing its patronage of locally made products.
“It is an establish fact that, when we buy foreign goods, we pay the returns to factors used in producing them in the originating countries; that is to say that we pay wages, rent, interest and profit to foreign countries with our local resources.
“On the other hand, enhanced manufacturing sector would mean increased revenue to government through taxes, employment creation, reduction in anti-social vices as well as peace for the populace”, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Kaduna South East branch Chairman of MAN, Ahmed Ladan Gobir commended Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s government for harmonisation of hitherto multiple taxes and setting up of a committee on the ease of doing business, where MAN is represented.
He however noted that, multiple of challenges were confronting the manufacturing sector, chiefs among which were inability of manufacturers to access enough foreign exchange to import raw materials for production and difficulties in accessing credits from financial institutions for retooling and expansion as well as working capital.
“In addition, we presently face the burden of carrying huge inventory of their finished goods. In spite of the campaign to buy made in Nigeria goods, patronage does not come from the government and other consumers lack the purchasing power to buy in order to lessen the burden.
“The unfortunate effect of this is that quite a number of our members in Kaduna State have closed down, especially from the beginning of this year and turned hundreds of their workers into the already saturated labour market, while those who are still managing to operate are gearing up to also down size their work workforce before the end of the year”, Gobir said.
The AGM with the theme: “Accessing and Managing Credit with Ease for Manufacturing Sector in a Challenging Economy” is expected to come out with solutions to the numerous challenges facing the manufacturing sector.