The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has frowned at the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove forex restrictions on 43 items.
According to MAN, the decision will have adverse effects that may lead to the collapse of several local industries.
The Vice Chairman of Basic Metal, Iron and Steel Products sector of the Association, Lekan Adewoye, who spoke on a TVC business programme, condemned the new policy of the CBN and asked the Federal Government to urgently reverse the decision and save the nation from a looming job crisis, insecurity and outright collapse of the nation’s economy.
“The news came as a surprise to manufacturers who are still struggling to stay in business, CBN did not ban the importation of these items in 2015, the apex bank only put a restriction on the importation of these items.
For items that can be produced in Nigeria, such manufacturer ought to be encouraged. This directive will further kill the manufacturing industry that is already struggling to survive.
The problem is about policy somersaults, some of our members who have outrightly invested in backward integration will now start to regret this move because everyone who can assess FOREX will claim to be an importer, forcing sincere manufacturers to close shop and increasing the numbers of jobless persons.
Nigerian manufacturers don’t really have any competitive advantage over those in other developing countries, at best, what you have is competitive parity, because something has to be an advantage if your competitors don’t have it. And the little incentive that government has provided now it has been removed by the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
On why manufacturers are leaving the country, Adewoye said;
“Lack of consultation, I can speak for manufacturers because we always try our best to engage the government on some critical issues and decisions, but when some of these decisions are being taken, manufacturers are not being consulted.
Even when the 43 items were put on the restriction list, there was no consultation. It was just at the end of the day, we felt that to a reasonable extent, the decision were in the interest of manufacturers, but there were a couple of items on that list, that some manufacturers use at that time, some of those manufacturers were also affected and government is taking a decision to remove the entire items on that list without proper consultation with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN) to even have an idea of what effect will this have on their businesses.
I want to assure you that many industries will shutdown very soon and this will lead to lost of jobs and insecurity will be alarming in the country. Nigeria has all it needs to produce Iron Rods and other items on this list, opening up the market will be a disincentive to manufacturers that continue to put their resources and investment into growing the industry.”