The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi and other key stakeholders in the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have listed priority areas the incoming government of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, must focus on to achieve an all inclusive economic growth.
The MAN president, Francis Meshioye, advised the incoming President to as a matter of urgency reverse with immediate effect the 2023 fiscal policy measure that raises taxes on beverages and tobacco while also addressing the issue of multiple taxes in the country.
He was speaking at the investiture of new Executives of the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN)in Lagos tagged : “Agenda Setting for the incoming Federal Government”
Represented by the Head Communications, MAN, Ambrose Oruche, the Manufacturers’ umbrella body President underscored the need to give the productive sector maximum priority for the general good of everyone in terms of wealth and job creation for the nation.
He also stressed the need to promote the use of local content through mandating the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products by all government parastatals, agencies, and ministries…
Revisiting the executive orders 003 and 004; creating a special window for forex allocation to the manufacturing sector; identifying and breaking the powerbroker militating against the completion of the Ajaokuta steel complex…
To make available raw materials for our steel and automobile industries and provide incentives to encourage a rapid energy transition in the manufacturing industry.
Speaking further, Meshioye urged the incoming administration to give preferential treatment to the motor vehicle and assembly sector, with tariff holiday, pending the development of the iron and steel sector;
Revisit and reactivate dormant export incentives and engage and dialogue with the key stakeholders in the manufacturing sector on overcoming the challenges troubling the sector.
“The incoming administration must pay particular attention to this critical low-hanging fruit agenda with a deep sense of effective implementation and monitoring.
“This requires an unwavering and high spirit of commitment, dedication, and selflessness in public service delivery by the new administration,” he said.
Meshioye added that the magnitude of the responsibility awaiting the new administration is enormous, demanding high sense of determination, and resourcefulness, as almost all parts of the sectors are presently in shambles, squarely squabbling in crisis.
“The crisis ranges from political and social rascality to arrays of economic imbalances. Economic imbalances in terms of multiple taxes, fees, and levies imposed by all tiers of government, forex scarcity, a bourgeoning borrowing interest rate…
“Energy insecurity, and an infrastructural deficit in a highly inflationary environment. This is due to misaligned macroeconomic policy, policy misconceptions, negligence, and mismanagement, which have unimaginably negative impacts on the real sector,” he noted.
According to him, the impact is graver among industries, especially manufacturing, which has been battling poor performance and is now on the verge of collapsing as a result of these challenges, especially taxes.
In his words; “Emphatically, while the government believes in tax increments to rake in more revenue, the action is highly counterproductive because a high tax burden on manufacturing and small and medium-scale businesses will squeeze their profit margins.
“This will have an adverse effect on their tax-paying ability. As a matter of fact, multiple taxes on the manufacturing sector cannot enhance government revenue; rather, it will only erode the operational capability…
“Effectiveness, and competitiveness of the industry, with huge negative spillover effects on government earnings, job creation, and the economy at large.”
Also speaking, the National president, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), John Udeagbala, said the Nigerian economy is primarily powered by the Small and Medium Enterprises, (SMEs) as over 85 per cent of the country’s industrial sector is reliant on the SMEs which embodies the informal sector also.
On behalf of the Organized Private Sector (OPS), he urged the incoming Federal Government and CICAN to pay attention to the issues on the front burner, amongst others, and cooperate with all public and private sector partners to enunciate policies that will foster a private sector-driven economy in Nigeria.
“While we believe that this new administration will do great exploits, exceeding the works of their successors, I would also like to use this opportunity to charge you all to work closely with NACCIMA, as the synergy will be needed to further promote business interests in Nigeria and the global economy at large,” he urged.
On her part, the immediate past president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Toki Mabogunje, noted that the rising debt profile of the country is worrisome.
She pointing out that the economy is still facing forex liquidity concerns, contracting disposable incomes, rising inflation, escalating unemployment, business disruptions and investment uncertainties.
Mabogunje emphasised the need for policymakers to expeditiously develop a framework that will ensure the country has a well-diversified revenue base, stressing that this imperative for macroeconomic stability.
“There is a need to deepen efforts to improve investment in human capital development, particularly education and health.
“There is a strong imperative for mass employment of our teeming population, which in turn will have a positive effect on the current insecurity problems facing the country.
“The imperative of self-reliance with respect to food security and energy security,” she advised.
The former NACIMA President, however, said the Media is critical for public policy advocacy to be truly effective, adding that the role of the media in the process of disseminating policy-related information through the communications media cannot be understated.
“This is where the CICAN has such an important role to play in Nigeria’s democratic dispensation. CICAN was established in 1990, to enable the practice of Business Journalism, and it has maintained momentum and growth ever since, with its relationships with journalists throughout the country.
“The practice of economic journalism engages the analytical skills of the business journalist to report well on crucial economic issues, and provide citizens with an understanding of core social and economic realities (and values) that are needed to keep a democracy in place,” she stated.
For his part, the former Acting Director General and Chief Executive Officer, FIIRO, Dr. Chima Igwe, said commerce and industry are the two sides of a coin and are known as the key drivers of any economy while the media (CICAN) are strategic players in actualizing both.
He noted that in the past few years, Nigeria and Nigerians experienced a sudden and significant drop in economic activities which led to the loss of the purchasing power of the currency, the Naira.
Dr. Igwe warned that although Nigeria has been able to exit the recession, the strangling effects might still be seen lingering with the possibility of a relapse if the nation does not diversify.
“National security and economic recovery diversification, research and development in the fields of science, engineering, technology and innovation must be at the forefront for national growth and development.
“This is the very foundation of any successful industrial revolution and industrialization. It is practically impossible to envision a life today without a reliance on science technology and innovation in our everyday life,” he advocated.
He maintained that Science, technology and innovation (STI) is a very crucial cross-cutting sector in all developmental efforts of any nation if it is to be sustainable.
Dr. Igwe commended CICAN for organizing the event, saying that subsequent general meetings of CICAN will enable the association to push for, monitor and interrogate the agenda for the incoming Federal Government Administration.
Earlier, the president of CICAN, Charles Okonji, called on the government at all levels to retool, revamp and rejig the nation’s ailing economy while also calling the President-elect to focus on working the talk and delivering on the promises of his administration.