Lawmakers and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), have expressed contradictory stands on relocation of manufacturing industries in the country to neighbouring Ghana.
While MAN has described the trend as a very worrisome development which should be halted, the Law makers on the other hand, maintained that investors have the choice to relocate if the environment is not conducive for their operations.
According to the Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Industry, Hon. Solomon Agidani, relocation of firms from one country to another is not a new development.Â Â He noted that because of the high cost of production, countries like America and Great Britain have been manufacturing in China, and label the products Made in UK or Made in U.S.Â So, if the operating environment is not conducive, investors are at liberty to relocate because â€œ business is not â€˜Father Christmas.Â You are in business to make money and to deliver returns to shareholders, the lawmaker said.
However, addressing top government functionaries, policy makers and industrialists from across the country, during the 37th annual general meeting of MAN, the Associationâ€™s President, Alhaji Bashir Borodo, said: â€œThis 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.â€
â€œIt should be noted that no national industrialist would wish to ignore Nigeriaâ€™s market with its strength and potentials.Â We also need to acknowledge that this development is the outcome of breakdown in infrastructure.Â This is a wake up call for Nigeria to remove infrastructure road blocks and provide incentives.Â The reality is that notwithstanding the relocations already effected and others that may follow, the obvious and primary market target of these industries remain Nigeria.â€
Corroborating,Â former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr Samuel Nzekwe, urged government to work hard to stop the movement.
â€œIt is a shame that factories are closing down in Nigeria , opening in Ghana and other West African countries and exporting the goods to Nigeria, adding that it was a surprise that most of the goods produced in Ghana were being brought into Nigeria for sale,â€ he said.He advised that government should concentrate on development of infrastructure to discourage the industrialists from relocating to West African countries including Ghana.
According to him, the development of essential infrastructure should be as quick as possible especially now that the nation was willing to be among the best 20 economies by year 2020.
While calling on government to expedite action in providing uninterrupted power supply, security and education, Nzekwe expressed worry that up till now, government had not taken drastic action to address the issue of inadequate power supply and other infrastructure.
If government was slow in providing the needed infrastructure, he said, the entire industries would have left and it would take many years to lure them back.Analysts has attributed the the current trend of Ghana being theÂ investment destination in recent years to factors such as stable electricity supply and favourable tax incentives being offered to investors by the government of the country.
Already, in addition to having regional offices in Ghana, companies like Unilever, Nestle, Ghana and Cadbury manufacture some of their products there.Â The finished products are shipped back to Nigeria.Â Analysts say Nigeria will continue to lose not only jobs and money, but also continue to enrich its neigbouring countries where finished products come from.