By Merit Ibe
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, has said that Nigeria is moving beyond oil and export of raw commodities and materials to boost the economy.
Adebayo made the remark at the 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Export Promotion Group (MANEG), yesterday, where he said the country’s value and industrialisation is determined by what we are able to make of it.
He said one of Nigeria’s biggest developmental ambitions is the diversification of the country’s economy and repositioning of Nigeria as a major international supply chain partner. “As a country moving beyond oil, we are also working to move beyond the export of raw commodities and materials.”
Applauding the MANEG members for being at the forefront of value-added exports, the minister said the event themed: “Non-Oil Export Incentives in Nigeria – Effectiveness and Sustainability” was timely.
“Nigeria now more than ever needs to support exports. Historically the biggest incentive for exporters has been the Export Expansion Grant (EEG). Over the years, EEG has faced a number of constraints and has changed form a number of times.”
He noted that the ministry understands the importance of paying outstanding EEG commitments to exporters and has consistently championed the case, adding that he was pleased to see that the issue was currently being resolved at the National Assembly and that the 38 companies omitted from the previous list of EEG recipients submitted to the Debt Management Office now have an opportunity to receive payment.
The minister thanked the outgoing MANEG Chairman – Chief Ede Dafinone for his dedication over the past few years, which has been remarkable, expressing his belief that the new executive would carry on the good work of the group to greater heights.
In his remark, Dafinone thanked the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the approval of the 2006- 2020 EEG claims, which also include the 38 exporters that were exonerated by the 8th National Assembly.
Dafinone, who applauded the Federal Government for efforts made to pay back the EEG through the promissory note programmes, lamented the myriad of policies hindering the progress of non -oil export in Nigeria,which he said the extent of the impact on the sector remains a paradox.
He noted that domestic factors including government policies on non oil export incentives, exchange rate policy, upsurge in the price of diesel and other energy, further culminated in the low performance of the manufacturing export sector.
“Since the pandemic, exporters are practically struggling with reduced international demand coupled with domestic economic challenges such as high and increasing exchange rate, high cost of energy,multiple levies and taxes, port congestion, unending Apapa gridlock, infrastructural deficiencies and smuggling, causing untold constraints on manufacturing operations.”
On his part, President of MAN, Mansur Ahmed, who was represented by the Director General of the association, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, remarked that there were a lot of export incentives introduced by the Federal Government and new ones springing up from different MDAs. “For the policies to be sustainable, the association needs to continue to strive to advocate and meet the worries exporters continue to have. I’m hopeful that this AGM will light up government interest to further ensure that the non-oil sector is active for the benefit of the economy.
He said the current economic realities today call for immediate policy redirection especially the high exchange rate, high energy cost and others, as these have further impaired the progress of the manufacturing sector.
“MAN will continue to engage the federal government on policy formulation and sustainability that will engender growth in the industrial sector.”