The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has bemoaned the challenges that have retarded the growth of the real sector which include difficulty in accessing forex, high cost of power; transportation; low demand of commodity; regulatory Issues, among others.
MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, made the disclosure at a media lunch in Lagos,where he noted that the implication of these challenges was that it has impeded the growth and development of the manufacturing sector, thereby affecting the attainment of the sector’s full potential of massive job and wealth creation.
He explained that from the association’s quarterly research, aggregate Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index (MCCI) showed that the CEOs confidence oscillated under the 50 neutral points; 44.4 points in Q1; 40.2 points in Q2: 43.3 points in Q3; and then 42.06 in Q4 2020.
The trend, he said is a strong indication of lack of confidence of manufacturers in the economy in the whole of 2020 and that the manufacturing sector was indeed gasping for breath. “As we project for improvement in 2021, it is imperative that the management of the macro economy is approached more pragmatically and the development of the productive capacities of nation is intentionally enhanced.”
Commending the government on the decision to reopen the land borders for ease of trade engagements particularly under the implementation phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which took effect from January 1, the MAN boss said the AfCFTA has the potential to build Africa’s capacity to manufacture and change the narrative of African economy and give it a stronger voice and positioning in the global economy.
Ahmed was confident that there will be a tremendous opportunity for growth and development for every one if the countries that signed the agreement are willing to come together to make it a success, but not without challenges.
But he retorted that the possible challenge that stares the country in the face is the issue of dumping.
He asked if the governments and leaders have the political will to agree on those things that have to be done? “For instance, to ensure that we do not allow dumping to take place, there is need to ensure that all countries operate based on the rule of origin that has been agreed.
“But the difference is that while some countries will ensure that these regulations are complied with, others unfortunately will not do so. This calls for effective monitoring mechanism to be put in place to ensure that all countries do the right thing.”
He explained that at the level of the association, it has conducted series of webinar workshops for members to get them fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are imbedded in the agreement; while trusting that the Nigerian government will play its part to put adequate measures in place for a beneficial trade agreement.
“We look forward to an effective National Action Committee on the AfCFTA.”
While commending the contribution of the media to the growth of the association, Ahmed noted that he was pleased to announce that the association will be marking its 50th anniversary this year with series of activities and events, and canvassed support of the media in terms of coverage for the landmark celebration.