By Yinka Kolawole
To ensure continuous production of essential commodities during the lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called for pre-Covid-19 foreign exchange (forex) rates for its members, among other enabling incentives.
MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, in a statement sought the support of government to ensure that manufacturers have reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs such as gas, electricity supply, fuel and other essential infrastructure needs.
He stated: “Given the fundamental role manufacturers will be playing at a time like this, they have been encouraged to sustain ongoing operations to avoid reduction or shut down of production activities; and scale up their production especially of essential commodities such pharmaceuticals, consumables, sanitary and hygiene products needed to curtail the spread of the virus (COVID-19).
“In the case of an eventual lockdown, government should consider the introduction of fiscal measures such as waivers on import duties on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), and other essential products; extend tax holiday to companies on corporate tax, and waive the Value Added Tax (VAT), and reduce the burden of personal income tax as a way of increasing the disposable income of an average Nigerian worker.
“Government should ensure that all regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) should treat all requests from Manufacturers expeditiously and with the required sensitivity to the prevailing situation.”
MAN further asked the apex bank to consider directing commercial banks to freeze interest charges in the event of a lockdown.