By Merit Ibe
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has disclosed that 415 firms closed shop in the last one year due to forex squeeze and COVID-19 pandemic.
Its Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who made the remark during the virtual cake cutting event to mark the MAN 50th anniversary, noted that it was clear that the sector is still struggling and needs support, special focus and increased activity.
Ajayi-Kadir lamented that there are quite a lot of low hanging fruits that needed to be taken away to allow the sector thrive. He explained that supply-side constraints, forex squeeze, infrastructure, including power, transportation, acquisition of land, multiplicity of taxes and levies from different tiers of government, and inconsistent government policies hampered the growth of manufacturing.
Ajayi-Kadir said manufacturers would be able to thrive if the constraints were addressed.
On how many companies closed operations in the last one year, the DG said, at the time the central bank restricted forex for 41 items and with the impact of COVID-19, there was tremendous downturn in 415 industries and many of them actually went under..
“There was a time that, immediately the central bank restricted forex for 41 items and with the impact of COVID-19, we had tremendous downturn in 415 industries and many of them actually went under.
“But to the extent that they have been able to gradually reopen, I may not be able to calculate. But there was a time that 415 actually went off the radar of manufacturing in the last one year.”
He said in the next 50 years, the association would be more focused on creating resilience, adding that ‘we want to boost our capacity so that in spite of all these debilitating factors surrounding us, we should be able to thrive as a sector.
“We have made some progress in terms of manufacturing; it has not all been tales of woes.”
The MAN boss said he was looking forward to legislation on the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products.
“There is no reason why ministers, and to even start with, the National Assembly, should not be driving made-in-Nigeria cars. We have cars that are assembled here.”
Ajayi-Kadir said in spite of limitations, the manufacturing sector had continued to show resilience and promise.