Manufacturers cry out over forex scarcity for machineries, raw materials 

MAN President, Engr Mansur Ahmed

Manufacturers in the country have cried out over the scarcity of foreign exchange for them to purchase machineries and import raw materials to enhance productivity.

The president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Engr. Mansur Ahmed expressed their pain in Lagos during the MAN Reporter -of- the- year award ceremony.

Ahmed noted that following the worsening foreign exchange allocation to the real sector of the economy, their members were now adopting a customised approach to manage the limited forex at their disposal considering that the situation might not improve anytime soon amid COVID-19 pandemic.

 According to him, “the forex scarcity is worsening situation for real sector operators and local manufacturers.”

Ahmed further stated that a survey conducted by MAN Secretariat through interview with 400 chief executive officers across the six geo-political zones of the country who are members of the association showed that 82 per cent of them affirmed that the rate at which manufacturers source forex had not improved and there was a need to adopt new approach to get along with the precarious situation.

He said, ” Manufacturers have been facing foreign exchange challenges since the second quarter of the year 2020 due to significant decline in inflow of FX into the country.

“The situation worsened in the fourth quarter despite the FX injection into the market through BDCs and other interventions. Manufacturers still find it extremely difficult to source FX for importation of raw materials and machinery that are not locally available.”

He added that the situation was already causing scarcity in the manufacturing of some popular products or items for Nigerian market.

Speaking further, the MAN president though said some of the members of the association had benefitted from the N100bn stimulus package for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and local manufacturers, he moaned that the process of accessing the loan was extremely slow.

He called on the Central Bank of Nigeria and other commercial banks involved in the disbursement of the stimulus loans to speed up their process in order to help manufacturers to access them to increase productivity.

Talking about the African Continental Free Trade Area which commenced on January 1, 2021, Ahmed said if all countries involved did the right thing by following the rules, it was a huge potential for Africa as a whole.

He said, “Our political leaders and institutions must show the political will to ensure that all the protocols are obeyed.

“The rules of origin must be adhered to in order to avoid dumping.

“We have sensitised our members on the processes and procedures of the AfCTA. We are working with the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.”

In order to forestall the spread of COVID-19 virus in members’ factories and workplaces, the MAN President, said the association had always engaged their members in continuos sensitisation, and it would not stop, of the need to obey the safety protocols.

He said, “We have asked them to provide hand washing facilities, sanitizers, face masks and even ensure such distancing in factories and workplaces.”

Ahmed commended journalists for their support and stated that MAN was committed to strengthening its association with the media.

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