The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commended President Bola Tinubu’s industrial policy with resolve to utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency.
Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Monday in Lagos, in reaction to the inaugural address by Nigeria’s 16th President.
Tinubu during his inaugural speech said his administration would promote domestic manufacturing, significantly reduce unemployment and continue to drive infrastructural development among other promises.
Ajayi-Kadir said the industrial policy which was an unmistakable indication of a far sighted strategic choice also assured the sector of better days ahead.
He said that economic issues in the President’s speech resonated with the general business community.
The economic issues include multiple taxation, conflicting fiscal and monetary policies, poor foreign exchange management and fuel subsidy removal.
“I would like to start by congratulating the newly elected President Bola Tinubu on his assumption of leadership of the country today.
“As you would imagine, change in administration is usually greeted with expectations and as an advocacy group, we surely look forward to a number of policy changes and decisions.
“For me, this is a positive development that is borne out of a deep reflection over the current inclement manufacturing environment and the need to stop the drift into inglorious de-industrialisation of the Nigerian economy.
“What is most gratifying is that it came from Mr President from day one.
“A marching order, so to say, is needed to move the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) toward a unified exchange rate and I am glad that Mr President was very clear on this,” he said.
The MAN DG expressed hope that Nigeria’s 16th President, in line with his promise to enable a supportive fiscal policy regime, would order a reversal of the government’s three-year excise escalation roadmap on alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
According to him, the latest hike as contained in the 2023 Fiscal Policy Measures was not only going to ruin the affected sectors, but would be counterproductive for government revenue in the near future.
Ajayi-Kadir said in line with this optimistic beginning of the President, the CBN should be prevailed upon to give priority to the allocations of foreign exchange to the productive sector.
He said that this was critical, particularly to manufacturers to import raw materials, spares and machinery that were not locally available.
He added that the new government should direct the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to admit all qualified applicant companies into the Eligible Customer Scheme, to allow them access power as stipulated in the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
Ajayi-Kadir urged government to direct all relevant agencies of government to ensure that the electronic call-up system at ports aimed at redressing the congestion worked without fail.
He implored government to revisit the Finance Bill 2022 to ensure it includes the critical inputs of the organised private sector.
“In particular, the jettisoning of the highly objectionable removal of the 10 per cent investment allowance on acquisition of plants and machinery as stated in the Company Income tax Act, section 32.
“Additionally, to ensure that the imposition of the 0.5 per cent levy on eligible imports from third countries is limited to goods that we have capacity to produce locally and quite importantly, exclude raw materials that are not locally available.
“The input of the organised private sector on the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) should also be taken on board before the amendment bill is signed into law.
“We ask that government announce a special policy initiative to address the revival of closed and distressed industries, particularly in the north-east where 60 per cent of our member companies have closed,” he said.