By Naomi Uzor
The Nigerian manufacturing sector had itÂ rough last year posting a net deficit of N12.85 million during the year, as against net surplus of N2.86 million the previous year. This was revealed last week during the annual general meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) held in Lagos.
According to the President of MAN, Alhaji Bashir Borodo, the poor result was caused by the exodus of industries to neighbouring countries, adding that this unfortunate trend is a matter of serious concern and should be halted in view of Nigeriaâ€™s unchallenged leadership role as the hub of industrial production in West Africa.
The exodus and closure of companies resulted in decline of membership registration fee from N310,000 in 2007 to N255,000 in 2008, a decline of 17.74 per cent. In like manner, subscription also dropped from N82,168,773 in 2007 to N72,877,185 in 2008, a decrease of 11.31 per cent.
Borodo therefore noted during the occasion while it should be appreciated that no rational industrialist would wish to ignore Nigeriaâ€™s market with its strength and potentials, â€œWe also need to acknowledge that this development is an outcome of breakdown in infrastructure.Â This is a wake up call for Nigeria to remove the infrastructure road blocks and provide incentives.Â The reality is that, notwithstanding the relocation already effected and others that may follow, the obvious and primary market target of these industries remain Nigeriaâ€ he stated.
Furthermore, he said that the closure of industries and suspension of production by many industries in the country is worrisome as 820 manufacturing companies closed shop or temporarily suspended production between 2000 and 2008.
He however said that the council of MAN has initiated steps to determine the reason for the closures and to articulate remedial measures to restore good health back to some of these industries and to halt the discouraging closure pattern that is on the increase in our industrial landscape.
The Director General of MAN, Mr Jide Mike, also said during the occasion that despite the potentials of the manufacturing sector as the engine of growth, an antidote of unemployment, a creator of wealth and the threshold of sustainable development, that it has suffered severe decline in its contribution to its national output, adding, that the sector fell from nearly 13 per cent in the early 1980â€™s to about 4.13 per cent in 2008.
He disclosed that the decline was attributed to smuggling and faking of products, multiplicity of taxes, insecurity, weak infrastructures, persistent congestion at the sea ports, inconsistency in fiscal, monetary and trade policies, low patronage of locally made products and dearth of long-term/high cost of fund.