MAN urges CBN to provide forex to manufacturers

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the Central Bank of Naira (CBN) to provide more foreign exchange to manufacturers, to enable them import raw materials and machinery.

The call is according to Okwara Udensi, the chairman of MAN, Edo and Delta zones, while speaking on the topic ‘Nigeria’s struggling economy and unstable macroeconomic policies: lessons and challenges for the manufacturing sector’”, at the body’s 36th annual general meeting held in Benin City.

Udensi said the government should urgently bailout the manufacturing sector before it finally collapses. He cited scarcity of forex as part of the challenges manufacturers are facing.

“Manufacturing companies are unable to access the dollar at the official rates and they need it for the importation of raw materials,” he said.

“They have, consequently, to go to the parallel market to get the dollar at higher rates.

“The sector is facing numerous challenges and it needs the urgent attention of the federal government to provide an adequate bailout for the sector to avoid total collapse,” he said.

According to Udensi, other challenges facing the manufacturing sector include poor electricity, high lending rates, multiple taxes and levies by government agencies, low patronage of made-in-Nigeria products, congestion at the Lagos ports.

“It is our expectation that these identified challenges be addressed by the government to move the country from an import-dependent to a self-sufficient and export-based economy,” he said.

“This can only be made possible with consistency in governments’ policies to guarantee the required enabling environment so that manufacturing companies are able to operate at maximum capacity.”

On his part, Mansur Ahmed, national president, MAN, urged the CBN to direct commercial banks to grant process applications by manufacturers for forex. Ahmed, who didn’t attend the ceremony in person, was represented by Alofoje Unuigboje.