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MAN laments inadequate govt’s support to manufacturing sector, patronage of locally-made goods – From Chukwudi Ejimofor/PH

NIGERIA’S economy has been witnessing persistent increase in inflation rate in recent time. In fact,  the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) statistics shows that  the nation experienced an inflation surge as high as 18.17% in March 2021, which is the highest inflation rate since January 2017.

 The rate dropped consecutively from 18.17% recorded in March to 15.4% in November 2021. The December 2021 rate revealed a rise to 15.63% which can be attributed to increase in demand for goods during the period.

The fluctuations in the inflation rate in Nigeria economy is quite worrisome to the living standards of average Nigerians.   The reason(s) for this could be adduced to the fact that Nigeria is a “buyer” not a “seller” or industrial and manufacturing nation.

The phenomena of foreign made goods both finished and unfinished good in Nigeria has inflicted a gargantuan injury to the economic foundation of the nation.

If Nigeria does not manufacture or produce locally made finished goods for export, our Naira will perpetually remain infant to other currencies. If we do not purchase and use our own products, however, bad they may be, then who else will buy them and how will our people and industries develop? We don’t deny that we do not have good quality today, but there will definitely be a day, when the whole world will use our Japanese pencils.

At the Annual General Meeting/5th Made-In-Nigeria Product Exhibition of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Rivers/Bayelsa states, and the ushering-in of the new council of the organization held at the Atrium Event Centre, Stadium Road Port Harcourt, the association lamented on the neglect by successive governments toward the growth and development of locally-made goods in all ramifications and by extension under-develop the indigenous manufacturing industries.

Engr Mansur Ahmed, MAN President,

The event, with the theme; ‘changing the narrative in partnership with government to encourage investment in manufacturing in Rivers and Bayelsa states’ there was a groundswell of consensus among members that the bane of the association’s productivity is that governments at all levels have not shown enough commitment to harnessing the local production of goods for local and foreign demands.

In retrospect, MAN’s mission aims at promoting manufacturing sector competitiveness, contribution to job creation and gross domestic product through commitment to research and development new technologies environmental sustainability.

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To attend these heights, MAN faces difficulties  in an atmosphere of uncertainties due to obvious domestic variables emanating from lopsided government policies that led to government’s nonchalant attitude to the welfare and the growth of indigenous manufacturing industries. 

Sectoral members of MAN encompasses about ten sectoral  groups of manufacturing industries which comprises of; Food, Beverages and Tobacco, Chemical and Pharmaceuticals, Domestic and Industrial Plastic, Rubber and Foam, Basis metal, Iron and Steel, Fabricated Metal Production, Pulp, Paper and Paper Products, Printing and Publishing. Electrical and Electronic. Textile, Wearing Appearing, Carpet, Leather/Leather Footwear, Wood and Wood Products Including Furniture, Non-Metalic Mineral Products and Motor vehicle and Miscellaneous Assembly.

Speaking to Journalists on the sidelines of the event, Mr. Vincent Okwukwu, the current chairman of MAN Rivers/Bayelsa States branch, pledged to expand the vision of his predecessor in engaging the government of both states on the urgency in listening to the needs of the manufacturers in their states.

“As I take over from Senator Adawari, today, my main objective is to continue the advocacy of the Rivers/Bayelsa state branch. With our experience before, we intend to work on the way to make sure that the government listens to the challenges of the manufacturers, so as to attract more investors into the state. Our main area of concentration shall be to get government involved in protection of manufacturers in the states, especially the multiple taxation that are legal and those doing business with manufacturers in Rivers/Bayelsa state”.

Mr. Okwukwu who is director with Eastern Enamel Factory further stated that one of the priority of his executive is to relocate those industries that left the states due one reason or the other back.

”Rivers state use to be the second largest industrial state in Nigeria, due to so many variables, like security and other things that has now been addressed, and is in favourable we now think that it important we attract these industries that left Rivers back; the new council’s is to attract new investors”.

In his address, Distinguished Senator Adawari Michael Pepple, the outgoing Chairman, MAN, Rivers/Bayalsa States branch, advised the government to sustain growth and development through support and focus on manufacturing and further encourage non-oil sector in the nation’s economy.

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”Government should continue to support and focus on key sectors like the manufacturing sector to ensure that sustainable growth and development is achieved.

These sectors according him, when developed will catalyze other sectors through the supply of raw material inputs, like limestone, kaoline, zinc, gypsum etc.

More attention to be paid to the agricultural sector, non-oil sectors should receive incentives from government. Activities in non-oil sector should receive significant incentives from the government, and attention should be paid to manufacturing sector been the key sector”.

Senator Adawari Michael Pepple, enumerated the challenges facing the manufacturing sector in Nigeria  to include ”Challenges limiting the productivity of manufacturing sector in Nigeria –  ensure the availability of regular and quality power supply for the industries as well as homes, difficulty to source foreign exchange for importation of raw materials, machines and spare parts that are not available locally, inadequate electricity supply and incessant increase in tariff, low patronage of locally manufactured  products, Multiple taxation amongst others”.

The Guest Speaker, Mr. Tony Ayemoh,  former general manager First Aluminum PLC, who harped on the need for government at all levels in  Nigeria to support local manufacturers and patronise made in Nigeria products and make policies that attract investors to create employment to the teeming unemployed Nigerians.

The exhibition witnessed miserably low participation as greater number of the exhibition stands were empty, portraying the level of surviving industries and the low patronage of locally manufactured products in Nigeria, some of the companies that participated in the exhibition counted their experience during the two day exhibition.

In an exclusive interview with SummitNews, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, group head, Corporate Communications, Indorama-Nigeria, operators of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals and Fertilisers, expressed his company’s delight with the organisers of  the two day exhibition.

According to him, “Indorama’s participation at the just concluded made in Nigeria products exhibition was quite colourful and  phenomenal. The double boots occupied by the company was the cynosure of all eyes and indeed the  busiest during the two-day fair. Customers, potential customers, officials from regulatory authorities, officials of financial institutions trooped to the exhibition stand to make inquiries, ask questions or simply admire the aesthetic display of the Indorama products” 

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Indorama products on display were Urea fertilizer and various grades of  polymer (petrochemical products).

Indorama staff were on hand to answer any questions and inquires. The Indorama pavilion also had a TV set that continued to show all aspects of the Indorama operations and products’ application”

Dr. Nkwocha further opined that ”Besides, Indorama came to the exhibition with an assortment of souvenirs for various visitors to their stand. Indorama’s performance at the exhibition shows it is a solid manufacturing organisation, well organised and very strategic to the industrial and agricultural.sectors of Nigeria.

Mr. Aluede Paul Akhere, Manager Sales and Marketing, Green Hills Integrated Services Ltd, in an exclusive interview with SummitNews harped on the state of indigenous manufacturers in Nigeria, his company’s products quality and the standard they operate.

“Green Hills integrated Services Ltd is wholly the Nigeria PVC manufacturing company based in Port Harcourt. Our products covers the south south market are widely used in building, food and medical industry. Our products are known for its technical strength and elasticity. They cover the range of 20mm to for both plumbing and conduit wiring; our products are certified by standard organization of Nigeria SON. Our Motto is “Superior Quality”

Indorama stand

Our products, because of its high quality the demand is very high in the Nigeria and international markets; in fact our products don’t lack patronage.”

Mr. Aluede Paul stressed the inherent hiccups the indigenous manufacturing companies experience in doing business in Nigeria, prominent amongst them is near zero power supply, sourcing fores to purchase raw materials, multiple taxation

“The major constraint indigenous manufacturer are encountering are so many; electricity, power supply. Raw materials are not sourced locally; to source for fores to for importation of our raw materials is huge constrain to local manufactures. We need  government intervention to reduce the tariff for forest to assist local manufacturers in Nigeria. The host community has always been there which we have developed a method of tackling it”.

The two-day event with witnessed group inspection of the exhibition stands by the state branch and national officers of MAN present, goodwill messages from Rivers state government, National Secretariat of MAN and past leaders of the association

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