Industry stakeholders have lamented the prevailing unfavourable operating climate in the food sector.
They urged the Federal Government to address the constraints and challenges facing the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) sector to boost the economy.
Chairman of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, identified constraints facing the sector to include infrastructural constraints, low purchasing power and an unpredictable business environment. He spoke during an interview programme on Channels Television monitored by The Nation yesterday in Lagos.
Also speaking on the state of the sector in Lagos, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Paul Gbededo, lamented the myriad of challenges facing flour millers in the country. He stressed the need for government to encourage inclusive, sustainable and enforceable policies to encourage local investors.
He also sought greater control on the quality of imported and home-grown wheat and better infrastructure, especially access routes at the factories and ports.
Rewane said: “Some of these constraints are self-inflicted. Take for example the Apapa gridlock, take for example the cost of funding, and low productivity. So we have all of these things. But more importantly is that in the National Income Identity Equation, you have government expenditure, but the most important component of this is investment. Total investment in Nigeria is about $65 billion; it is less than 17 per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“A combative regulatory environment; an extortionary regulatory environment and policy making environment is what kills investment. And investors are not interested in what you say because what you do is more important than what you say. What you are doing could be combative or disruptive while what you are saying is creative.
“Talking about flour, price of wheat has gone up by almost 30 per cent in the last year or 18 months. But the price of wheat now in Nigeria has gone up by almost 10 per cent. The result is that, and the exchange rate has moved, okay now positively and they have the availability of foreign exchange; good news.