…Say ERGP yet to make impact
Manufacturers in the Food and Beverage sector have rated the Federal Government’s programme on Ease of Doing Business low, as they believe it has not provided any relief to businesses, but rather compounded their problems.
This was as the manufacturers said the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which came with a bang of publicity when it was launched, has not made any appreciable impact.
The President of the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Chief Patrick Anegbe, in his address at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association said despite the laudable programmes, the business environment has remained uninspiring.
“The business environment in the last one year as in previous years remained toxic. Though Nigeria came out of a 15-month recession in the second quarter of 2017, the economy is still weak and fragile. Many sectors, including manufacturing, are still weak,” he said.
Anegbe noted that part of the challenges is the high cost incurred as a result of non-existing or inadequate infrastructure including energy, multiple taxes and levies by federal, state and local governments and, in some cases, communities, especially where member companies are operating in rural areas.
He alisted other problems to include high cost and shortage of foreign exchange and disruption in supply of petroleum products.
“These and many others shoot up the cost of doing business, a situation which calls into question the well touted government’s policy on “Ease of Doing Business”. These developments certainly do not provide any relief to businesses,” he said.
The AFBTE President lamented that as a result of all the problems confronting the sector, it recorded quite a number of job losses in 2017, while the picture still remains the same in the new year. He traced the job losses to the closure of some production lines and plants by companies because of the unbearable costs involved in running their businesses.