By Tunde Oso
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has urged the Federal Government, FG, to adequately meet the real sector credit needs at single digit interest rate and also address the other challenges bedevilling the manufacturing sector.
MAN, which made this known in its Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index second quarter report sent to Vanguard, said that the government should address other challenges like: poor access to foreign exchange (forex), high cost of power, multiple taxation, port challenges, over regulation and poor access to funds, scarcity of raw materials and low patronage.
According to MAN, the new Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, policy that stopped allocation of forex to the Bureau de Changes (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market has further increased the responsibilities of commercial banks in handling forex sales and applications in the economy.
“It is therefore important to encourage the banks to build more capacities through designate desks for handling the streaming applications and Form M to ensure seamless and timely processing of forex applications by manufacturers.
“We encourage the Government to continue with the plan and create a platform where all stakeholders within NESI will deliberate on the implementation of the regulation and resolve all pending issues that have affected the seamless running of the Eligible Customer initiative”.
The Group further tasked the government on reviewing the current increment in electricity tariff, encouraging investment in the electricity value chain, generation, transmission and distribution.
On multiple taxes and levies, it said “Publish the list of approved harmonized taxes and levies for the manufacturing sector by the Joint Tax Board (JTB), commence implementation of the harmonized taxes and levies project which should be monitored and enforced strictly by the JTB”.
Speaking on over regulation, it said, “There has been unbridled double regulation of chemical materials by the Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control. We encourage the Government to streamline NAFDAC with the control of only related chemical materials, while SON oversees non-food related ones.
The Association moved for full implementation of the report of the Steve Oronsanye Committee on the restructuring and rationalization of the Federal Government agencies, parastatal and commissions.
On ports challenges, the government is tasked on improving on the time taken to clear container/cargoes clearance at the ports, installing sound trade facilitation equipment at the ports such as scanners, reducing the various port charges and removing demurrage for undue delayed clearance; resuscitating available rail tracks and constructing new ones and linking them to industrial hubs.
Speaking on scarcity of raw- materials, the Association urged the government to select strategic products for backward integration and further drive the resource-based industrialization agenda, encouraging investment in the development of machines; iron and steel; petrochemical sectors to support manufacturing.