By Franklin Alli
MANUFACTURERSÂ across the country have ranked power supply problems as their topmost worries, revealed NOI/NESG Polls tagged â€œEagle 30.â€
Speaking during media presentation of the survey,Â Mr. Emeka Eluemunor, Director of Strategy and Business Development, said that findings from a survey of business executives in the manufacturing and services sector of the economy, showed that their businesses were hindered by power (90%), ports (86%), petrol/diesel supply (76%), roads (70%), and security (67%).
â€œMore specifically, respondents noted that power was a major constraint for the businesses as they had to generate their own supply. Lack of infrastructure (67%), access to credit (50%) and policy inconsistency (50%) were inclusive of obstacles to business.
Eluemunor, said that findings also revealed that â€œ53% of executives said they were currently operating at capacity, while 37% said they were operating below capacity. This assertion was relatively consistent with the assessments of their current business situations.
On the recent reforms in the banking sector, access to credit was either tight or very tight for most business executives (56%) at the time of interview.
However, this was expected to ease over the next 6 months, with 47% and 20% saying access would be average and easy, respectively. At least 6 in 10 (63%) of respondents said corruption was a problem in their areas of business, while 84% said it was either a major or very major concern. Almost half the respondents (47%) said they had made â€œunofficial paymentsâ€ to government officials in the 6 months preceding the interview.
according to business executives. Corruption (47%) and lack of skilled labour (30%) were also mentioned as major constraints to doing business in Nigeria.
The survey further showed that six in 10 (60%) of respondents expressed difficulty in recruiting skilled labour due mainly to the poor quality of graduates being churned out from Nigerian universities.
However, some respondents noted that this was not an immediate concern as they did not anticipate any workforce increases in the short term.
â€œOne in two (53%) of respondents said they envisaged increase in the inflation rate, while 40% of them said they did not anticipate any changes. Only 7% expected a decrease. A major reason cited for the expected increase in inflation was the planned deregulation of petroleum products prices.
Meanwhile, 40% of the executives said the current exchange rate (at the time of interview) had a negative effect on their business operations. During the period of the interview, the naira was trading at an average of N149.58 to the US dollar at the official market.
â€œAbout 40% of the respondents said the current period was either a bad time or a very bad time to invest, while 30% said it was average. A few, however, felt the situation could be taken advantage of and thus was a good time to invest but an overwhelming majority of respondents (80%) said the business environment was either unsupportive or very unsupportive of their businesses.