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Nigeria Economy: OPS Proposes Options For Real Sector Recovery

-by our correspondent.

The Organized Private Sector (OPS) has outlined measures to achieve a robust real sector growth in Nigeria

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) gave the options at a forum organized in Lagos by the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN),

L –R: Rhonda Ogunsheye, Vice Chairman, CICAN, Dr. Adams Adebayo, Chairman, NASME, Lagos State and Charles Okonji, National Chairman, CICAN at the 2020 ClCAN Workshop, held recently in Lagos.

Indeed, the OPS agreed that the Nigerian business environment is becoming more hostile and unbeatable, maintaining that the horrible business environment is being compounded by the escalating exchange rates, and forex scarcity coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president of ABCON, Aminu Gwadabe, said the borders closure and multiple taxation constitute some of the hardest challenges hindering the sector. He warned that the government must do away with all multiple taxes levied on manufacturers, and formulating investment friendly policies for Nigeria to come out of recession.

“The government should granting tax holidays to manufacturers during this period of general economic hardship if we must come of recession. They should think of incentives to manufacturers and not exploiting or punishing them with levies and taxes, they should make single digit loans available with less bureaucracy if the country must experience growth,” he advised.

He noted that manufacturers are not making profit due to massive infrastructural deficit that has plagued the nation over the years, in his words: “We generate power by ourselves and the cost is unbearable, what about road rehabilitation, majority lost manufactured goods and raw materials to bad roads, our vehicles and vans breakdown on the daily bases as a result of the poor condition of our roads.”

For his part, the Acting Director-General of MAN, Ambrose Oruche, warned that many in 2021 more firms in the sector will close shop noting that the policies formulated to drive manufacturing in the country are not supportive.

Acting Director-General of MAN, Ambrose Oruche

As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) kicks off next year, Oruche called on the government to provide an enabling environment for manufacturing to thrive pointed out that having penchant for foreign goods would make locally made goods struggle.

“The Organised Private Sector is ready to take advantage of the trade deal, but we currently do not have the facilities to be competitive. Nigeria should be able to take advantage of this opportunity being the top manufacturing country in Africa, but deficiency in infrastructure is a great bottleneck,” he said.

The Director General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ayoola Olukanni, said the unemployment report of the 2nd Quarter of 2020  has shown that 21.8million were unemployed, out of a labour force of 80.2 million Nigerians.

“This is a reminder that we must really work hard to diversify our economy. We face dwindling foreign exchange reserves, increasing domestic and foreign debt, and difficulties in doing business brought about largely by an infrastructure deficit in the power and transportation sectors,” he declared.

DG NACCIMA, Ayoola Olukanni

Olukanni called for implementation of policies to improve ease of doing business and reduction of the cost of doing business, especially for SMEs which makes about 48 per cent to the national GDP and provide about 84 percent of employment according to various studies. “Implicitly, our SMEs which are the private sector operators are the bedrock of our economy and we must do all we can to support them, not just to survive but flourish as we consider strategic options out of recession hopefully by first quarter of 2021,” he stressed.

In his presentation, the Chairman of Non-Metalic Mining, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mallinson Ukatu, said the Nigerian business environment is becoming more hostile and unbearable and the horrible situation is being compounded by escalating exchange rates, and forex scarcity coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For us to come out of recession as a country, the government must remove all multiple taxes levied on manufacturers, and all the ministries that are visiting factories with all forms of charges should be cautioned.” He cautioned.

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