Discourage trading in finished imported products, MAN urges govt

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Anna Okon

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has suggested a number of measures that can strengthen the manufacturing sector, among which are encouraging foreign investors to set up industries instead of trading in imported finished products.

In a chat with our correspondent, the President, MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, also said that there should be a deliberate programme that could encourage linkage between agricultural sector and the industry as well as import substitution and export promotion.

He underscored the need for a free technology exchange between citizens of countries investing in Nigeria and their foreign counterparts, even as he called for placing high priority on power.

He said, “Countries where industries thrive invested massively in power sector and as such have stable supply of electricity.

“Nigeria can replicate this through revitalisation of the transmission and distribution network that have limited the growth of the power sector in recent times.”

He added, “We commend the government for lifting the suspension of the Export Expansion Grant and promoting resource-based industrialisation. These are steps in the right direction.”

 According to him, having a link between agriculture and manufacturing will enable the manufacturing sector to have easy access to raw materials and to thrive.

The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Dr. Hussain Ibrahim, echoed this sentiment when he announced that the council along with stakeholders was developing a national strategy and implementation plan that would enable Nigeria to become globally competitive in raw materials and product development.

“For made-in-Nigeria goods to be competitive both nationally and internationally, the raw materials have to be competitive in quality and price,” he stated.

According to him, research institutes are now given the task of making research for products that target specific sectors in the economy instead of developing research paper that will end up on the shelves.

“Their researches must target products in the industrial and agricultural sectors so that the practitioners can benefit from the results of the research,” he noted.

The MAN president also expressed disappointment about the decline in the growth of the manufacturing sector from a positive in the first quarter of 2017 to a negative in the third quarter, saying that this was an indication that a lot needed to be done to make the sector attain its full potential.

The sector recorded its first positive growth in the first quarter of 2017 with 1.36 per cent; the performance dipped a bit in the second quarter of 2017 to 0.64 per cent. It dropped further from 0.64 to -2.85 per cent in the third quarter.

Jacobs noted said that the poor performance of the sector in the third quarter of the year was an indication that there was a need  to further strengthen the operating environment of the real sector by halting increasing electricity tariff; addressing the challenge of multiple taxation; improving  patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods; curbing  the excesses of regulatory agencies and combating  inflation, which had eroded the purchasing power of Nigerians and negatively impacted manufacturing productivity.

He sought speedy implementation of the recent policies of the Federal Government meant to enhance the ease of doing business and ensure a favourable environment for the sector.

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