Minister of state for budget and economic planning, Prince Clem Ikanaba Agba, has charged manufacturing companies in Nigeria to be proactive and be less import-dependent as excessive importation weakens the naira against the dollar.
Prince Agba maintained that the federal government has lost over five trillion naira to open -ended waivers granted to local manufacturers in the country who are neck deep in numerous forms of importation across the country.
Agba spoke in Kano during an official visit to NUTRI K, a firm in Kano, which is an offshoot of Dangote Group of Companies that specialises in the production of ready to use therapeutic food in the state.
The minister revealed that the federal government had just realised that some companies who were given such waivers had no time line in which they were to revert to the payment of the requisite duty expected of them.
He said that in some cases, some of these companies would introduce additional import products which were not captured in the initial government waivers without the consent of the government.
He disclosed that already his ministry had taken up the matter with the National Assembly with a view to working out modalities for import waivers to be bounded by a time sufficient for the start-up manufacturers to find their feet in the market place.
While speaking to the management team of the company, Agba said the government would look into their challenges by way of introducing policies that would support their import ambition but added that the intervention would be for a specific time line.
He assured that the government was committed to reducing the cost of production of local manufacturers. Agba, however charged the company to be proactive and be less import dependent as excessive importation was responsible for weakening of the strength of the naira against the dollar.
In his address the company’s managing director, Abudulkadir Yowe, said apart from groundnut for which they have an understanding with some out-growers from Kebbi State, they import the rest of the raw materials from outside Nigeria.
He added that they are also affected by the cost of energy in Nigeria, all of which add up to make the prices they sell less competitive in the global market.
The MD called on the government to assist the company in its effort to create job opportunities for the teeming Nigerian youths.