…Condemn closure of Dangote Cement plant in Kogi

Say govt policies compounding economic woes

By Yinka Kolawole

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has revealed plan to set a 10-year industrialisation agenda for the country at its forthcoming 50th annual general meeting (AGM) with the theme, “An Agenda for Nigeria’s Industrialization for the Next Decade”, from October 17 to 19, 2022, in Lagos.

President, MAN, Engr. Mansur Ahmed, disclosed this Thursday at a pre-AGM media briefing, adding that the President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, will be the Guest Speaker while President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to be the Special Guest of Honour at the event.

Ahmed said that the theme of the AGM “is borne out of the need to take stock of the nation’s journey to industrialization, to ascertain the pains and pain-points; to highlight the performance limiters; recognize the gains and growth milestones; and to identify the learning curves and hurdles ahead”.

“All these with a view to crafting a robust agenda for resetting industrialization, albeit manufacturing in Nigeria.

“The significance of an electioneering year further propels us to bring to the consciousness of aspiring leaders of the nation the importance of a virile manufacturing sector. To put forward the case of being intentional about accelerating the growth and development of the sector in their agenda on the economy,” he added.

The MAN president lamented that many policies of the government have compounded the already challenging operating environment for manufacturers.

His words: “It is indeed a matter of great concern to our members that even as our economy continue to experience very slow growth, our policy makers at all levels continue to compound the situation by introducing new taxes, further worsening the difficult and high-cost operating environment. In some climes, when the economy slows down Government reduce taxes to encourage businesses to expand, create more jobs and increase economic activities.

“What we are seeing in Nigeria today is not only increasing tax rate but introducing new taxes and turning every public agency into a revenue collector.”

According to him, “in the last 30 years, peer countries have overtaken Nigeria in the area of industrialisation while the country the country has stagnated and even gone backwards industrially”.

Meanwhile, responding to a question, the MAN president condemned the closure of Dangote Cement plant in Obajana by the Kogi State government, noting that the action was worrisome and unwarranted.

His words: “The action of the Kogi State government at shutting down Dangote Cement plant is very worrisome. It is shocking that a government will shut down a plant that provides jobs and economic activities on a very large scale to the people of Kogi State.

“This is totally unnecessary. If the state government has any issue against any corporate citizen, the appropriate thing to do is to go to court and not to use any strong arm tactic to shut the facility. What happened here will not happen in any normal properly managed economic environment.

“We hope relevant authorities in both state and federal government will step in to ensure that this kind of behaviour is not repeated.”

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