President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) that his regime will do everything within its power to improve access to foreign exchange for importation of raw materials and equipment that are not available locally.
Buhari said this on Wednesday during an advocacy visit of the leadership of MAN to the State House.
The President was quoted as saying this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘President Buhari promises to address forex supply to manufacturers for importation’
The President told the Mansur Ahmed-led executives of MAN that the relevant ministry would revisit their concerns about the increase in excise duties on the identified products and other tariff-related matters.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area, the President said Nigeria would fast-track the process of setting up the Designated Competent Authority that would superintend the administration of Rules of Origin and Commission as well as the automation for issuance of electronic Certificate of Origin.
He added that the Federal Government would also ensure that relevant structured platforms were established for monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the Ease of Doing Business and improved government patronage of made in Nigeria products.
He was quoted to have said, ‘‘Our strategic plan to boost manufacturing activities in the country is on course. We will continue to improve the patronage of locally made goods, bridge the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our tertiary institutions and ensure seamless access to long term finance for our Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises.
‘‘We recognise that MAN remains a key stakeholder in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you.’’
According to Buhari, a private sector-led economy is the way to create jobs urging the leadership of MAN to continue to encourage manufacturers that government recognises the resilience of their members and other private sector organisations in promoting a virile manufacturing sector in Nigeria.
In her remarks, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, pledged that the ministry would continue to work with MAN in the areas of policy, trade and creating an environment to facilitate the growth of businesses in Nigeria.
Earlier, the MAN president had said the advocacy visit was largely motivated by two factors: to thank the President for all the support extended to the manufacturing sector since his assumption of office in 2015, and to seek the urgent support of the Federal Government for the manufacturing sector to overcome the binding constraints to competitive manufacturing in Nigeria.
On the challenges facing the sector, Ahmed said the association had articulated remedial measures for the challenges in the Blueprint for Accelerated Development of Manufacturing in Nigeria, which would be formally presented to the President in the first quarter of 2022.
He, however, highlighted a few challenges that could be addressed in the immediate term to improve the manufacturing environment.
They include an inadequate supply of foreign exchange, inadequate electricity supply, poor access to long term funds, patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods and local content development, looming increases in tax rate, among others.
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