President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Francis Meshioye, has charged the Federal Government (FG) to prioritise investment in infrastructure, introduce policies that would incentivize domestic production and make it more attractive against the imported finished products.
Meshioye made the disclosure during a press conference ahead of the forthcoming MAN 51st Annual General Meeting slated for October 17-19, 2023, with the theme ‘Setting the Agenda for Competitive Manufacturing Under the AfCFTA: What Nigeria Needs to Do’.
He disclosed that the theme was couched with a deep reflection on the growth trajectory of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria and Africa.
”In general, we are focused on the role of the manufacturing sector in the actualisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and the integration of the African economy as envisioned in the agenda 2063: ‘Africa we want’,” Meshioye dsiclosed.
He noted that currently the cost of manufacturing is rising daily owing to scarce and unavailable manufacturing inputs that continue to shrink profitability and threaten the existence of the critical sector of the economy.
He said: “More worrisome is the fact that the sector that should propel job creation, productivity, and economic growth is enmeshed with a series of challenges that constantly limit its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. Such challenges as epileptic power supply, insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, shortage of forex and naira depreciation are prevailing issues that are impacting negatively on the sector.
“If Nigeria manufacturers will compete effectively, then a comprehensive and concerted effort needs to be deployed by the Government to overtake the binding constraints that limit local production and then seek to attract foreign investment that will bring about a reduction in the forex chase and ensure sufficient forex inflow that the country requires. With a new administration steering the seat of governance, it is pertinent that all hands must be on deck to achieve a vibrant economy that can compete favourably.
“To start with, the government needs to prioritise investment in infrastructure and power, combat insecurity and corruption as well and introduce incentive policies that would make domestic production more attractive as against the importation of finished products. The AfCFTA window should be maximised in such a way that products manufactured in Nigeria would be preferred in terms of quality and pricing.
“Until we address the binding constraints that make the local products uncompetitive, the benefit of a continental market might end up being a mirage for the largest economy in Africa. In the face of these shortcomings, we remain resilient and committed to our collaborative advocacy approach, as we strive towards the attainment of practical ease in doing business.”
He stressed that “we seek an atmosphere that supports favourable competition with our counterparts in other countries, particularly within the continent. Our commitment to addressing the challenges from where the shoe pinches informed the choice of our guest speaker for the 3rd Adeola Odutola Annual Lecture.
“Our Distinguished guest speaker is Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Economic Management Team from 2010 to 2011, and later Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments from 2011 to 2015. He was a major contributor to making Nigeria the premier destination for investments in Africa.
”He was also responsible for many transformational milestones in Nigeria including establishing the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, issuing the nation’s first Euro bond, structuring and sourcing the finance for the first standard gauge rail in Nigeria, and developing the country’s Industrial Revolution Plan. Our goal is to brainstorm at the AGM, dwelling on the theme to suggest a policy direction for the new Government.
“Our distinguished guest speaker is a friend of the house and one who has a vast understanding of the sector and also the subject of discourse. Olusegun Aganga, CON, former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs in London, is billed to bring his wealth of experience on board as we jointly engage on the theme at the 3rd edition of the Adeola Odutola Lecture held on Thursday, October 19, 2023.”
culled from Daily Times Nigeria