Merit Ibe and Okwe Obi (Abuja)
Amid the prevaling foreign exchange (forex) crunch that has paralysed activities in key sectors of the economy, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) at the weekend called on the Federal Government to implement its Export Expansion Grant (EEG) policy to allow more inflow of foreign currecies into the country.
The Association made the plea following complaints by local manufacturers about their inability to access forex required to import vital raw materials, machinery and spares needed for production.
Acting Director General of MAN, Ambrose Oruche, in a chat with Daily Sun, confirmed that it has been difficult sourcing forex from the official window, even when manufacturers ought to be prioritised in the allocation of forex to enable them remain in business.
“A situation where a manufacturer is requesting for $100 million and is given $5000 only can be very frustrating.
“There is need for the monetary authority to prioritise improved access to forex for operators in the real sector of the economy for the purchase of machines, raw-materials and other manufacturing inputs that are currently not available in the country to speed up the economic recovery process.” the MAN boss said
While admitting that the restrictions on access to forex had worsened the situation, Oruche said forex should be allowed to be sought for anywhere else other than the official window.
To derive inflow of forex to cushion the effect of the shortage, Oruche opined that the government should encourage export of non -oil sector by ensuring that EEG is implemented to encourage exporters to export.
He noted that the policy which was implemented in the past to boost export in non -oil sector was suddenly, abandoned leading to the current abuse by exporters.
“If you don’t export you can’t have more forex.
“If you only export oil, you will get forex based on the oil but if you export non- oil products, you will get more forex from the sector.” Oruche said
He said the issue of forex will not be a challenge, if the government came up with EEG which is a sort of grant to cushion the effect on the cost of production, so that we can compete with likes of China and Europe in the market.
“Government needs to go back to the EEG, which improved the non oil sector export. The amount of outflow determines the amount of inflow; if you have a limited source of inflow it will affect the economy,” Oruche said.
He pointed out that the EEG was necessary because the economy is challenged and environment harsh and difficult, as such manufacturers need encouragement to be able to compete in global environment.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), has warned that the spate of borrowings by the Federal Government from China, will destroy Nigeria’s economy and mortgage the future of its citizens.
The rights group suggested that before the Federal Government embark on a borrowing spree, there should be a public debate from the local, states and federal level to enable Nigerians debate and ascertain the justification for loans, stressing that the members of the National Assembly have failed to do the biddings of the electorate.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, called on the Nigeria Union Journalists, Non-Governmental Organisations, and particularly, the youth, to rise up and fight for their future by demanding accountability, rather than spend valuable time watching a reality television show, Big Brother Naija.
He also called on religious bodies to propagate social justice more and speak less on tithes. He further pleaded with Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to give bailouts to credible media organisations unconstitutionally like other organisations in order to sustain those adversely affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus.