Interest Rate Hike: M.A.N Raises Alarm Over Damaging Effect On Manufacturing, Product Prices, Economy

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (M.A.N) has decried the recent increase of baseline interest rate in the country by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Recall that the MPC in Communique No. 144 of the Third Quarter 2022 meeting, increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 150 base points to 15.5% with an asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; and Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) by 750 base points to 32.5%; while retaining Liquidity Ratio at 30%.

The Committee explained that, the increase was aimed at moderating the high inflationary pressure on the economy and narrow the gap between the hitherto MPR of 14% and inflation rate which stood at 20.52% in August 2022 in order to improve the level real interest rate

M.A.N has, however picked holes in the recent increases in MPR and Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) by the MPC noting that these will negatively impact borrowing and input costs as well as new investments in the manufacturing sector of the economy.

In a statement signed by the Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, M.A.N, said “the increase in the two monetary parameters, MPR and CRR portends worrisome negative consequences for the manufacturing sector, some of which include:  Increased cost of borrowing by manufacturers, further beyond the extant double-digit rate, which disincentivize new investments in the sector;

“Increased factor costs which feed into high product prices, making the sector noncompetitive; High product prices, which makes patronage to plummet and lead to huge inventory of unsold manufactured products in the sector.

“High inventory of manufactured products will trigger reverse effect in the sector as manufacturing capacity utilization, production, employment, profit and tax contribution to national building will decline.”

The Manufacturers umbrella body predicted tougher times ahead for the productive sector following poor access to funds and the continued increase in rates while calling for complimentary fiscal support on the part of government to mitigate the high inflationary pressure on the economy.

“Clearly, the increase in MPR from 14% to 15.5% will rub-off negatively on other rates and dash the hope for a single digit lending rate for the productive sector in the economy.

“Moreover, the observed continuous contractionary monetary policy posture without complimentary fiscal support may not effectively reduce the prevailing inflationary pressure on the economy. This is not unconnected with the fact that the current increase in Consumer Price index as reported by NBS is not largely driven by monetary phenomenon, as self-inflicted weak foreign exchange rate management can be linked to the pressure.

“An experiential x-ray of the prevailing economic stance revealed that domestic output gap due to the inefficiency of the macro economy, unguided industry development, inclement and high-cost operating environment, exploitative regulatory ecosystem and some externalities are predominantly responsible for the rising inflation that the nation is experiencing.”

M.A.N also proffered some recommendations to remedy the situation. The statement read in part, “It is important that the monetary authority strategically set in motion mechanism for holistic balancing of the real interest rate, which is critical to investment and not just following leading economies to adjust Interest rate without considering domestic peculiarities.

“Interest rate (MPR), Inflation and Exchange Rate are triadically critical to investment and production. Balancing the rates in line with local aspiration is therefore imperative.

“Regrettably, at the moment, other contributory factors like insecurity and externalities induced food shortage; Government’s excessive drive for internally generated revenue, increase in interest rate in the US; unsustainable and unpragmatic interventions in the forex market; the acute shortage of forex and unfriendly exchange rates are not only fueling inflation, but seriously depressing industrial production.

“Consequently, MAN is hopeful that the CBN will creatively go beyond the conventional monetary management system, because global economic dynamics are changing and conventional measures may no longer be effective. In the light of the above, we recommend as follows:

“Upscale the current efforts at improving the availability of development-oriented funds at single digit interest rate, prioritizing industries. Promote a more robust production centric forex management and intervention in official forex market, leveraging on sustained increase in crude oil price in the global market;

“Give priority attention to meeting forex requirement of the industries vital inputs that are not available locally, to sustain and ramp-up production. Intentionally promote monetary and fiscal policy fusion; that is, the Central Bank of Nigerian and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning should jointly put complimentary measures in place in support of domestic manufacturing.

“Emplace the framework that will facilitate harmonious implementation of relevant policy guidelines aimed at boosting productivity.

“Undoubtedly, the Implementation of these measures will enable industries to remain in business; increase aggregate output; improve contribution to GDP and ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”

Comment here