Members of the Organised Private Sector have lauded President Goodluck Jonathan’s initiative on tariffs restructuring but reminded him of many other challenges militating against the sector.
They listed other challenges as poor power supply, dilapidated infrastructure, policy inconsistency, multiple taxation and inadequate take-off incentives for new businesses, among others.
They said in Lagos that government’s plans on duties and tariffs as well as tackling of these other challenges would put the country on the path of growth. The private sector operators advised that the government should ensure that the issue of backward integration should also be in the front burner.
The Chief Kola Jamodu, President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that Jonathan’s road map for the sector was laudable because of Nigeria’’s over dependence on imported goods.
He said that Nigeria had relied too much on importation of goods, which he said, was not in the best interest of the nation. Jamodu gave assurances that the sector was ready to support President Jonathan’’s government.
He said that manufacturers had submitted a 90-page blue print on ways to improve the nation’s economy to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and urged the President to look at it.
Jamodu said that other problems in the sector were institutional and policy challenges, indiscriminate granting of waivers and smuggling of substandard products into the country.
Chief Femi Deru, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that locally produced goods were expensive because manufacturers were operating under harsh environment.
“A situation where the manufacturers provide power, water, roads and other infrastructure instead of the government and pay excessive taxes is unhealthy for the sector.
The problem is often compounded by the government‘‘s penchant revision of policies from time to time. These, couple with the general poverty in the land, place serious strain on manufacturing firms,” Deru said.
Dr Herbert Ajayi, President of NACCIMA, also attributed the closure of many industries to these problems. Ajayi said that many industries had collapsed because successive administrations did not have the political will to tackle protracted problems of power and infrastructure in the country.
Dr Samuel Nzekwe, immediate Past President of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), said that the President’s plans on duties and tariffs were “ right step in the right direction”.