The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) is concerned about the interest rate in Nigeria.

The president of the association, Dr Frank Jacobs Udemba, who disclosed this at the MAN annual media luncheon in Lagos, noted that one of its major focus for the year 2017 is advocacy for a concessionary interest rate of five percent for manufacturers.

He stated that the association has done its best on its advocacy on lowering the monetary policy rate, stressing that MAN would continue asking for five percent interest rate for the manufacturers as high-interest rate will not favour manufacturers.

He urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to take a drastic action about lowering interest rate for manufacturers, stressing that MAN members are not happy about it.

He pointed out that MAN has been working with Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to make a total Content Act as a bill to the Senate.

Speaking on foreign exchange, Udemba stated that unavailability of foreign exchange has forced most manufacturers to close shop or reduced their capacity. “Most of our members are depending on the black market to source for foreign exchange for procurement of its raw material and machinery from abroad which will make us uncompetitive.

“Periodically, we engaged government on the issues of patronage of made in Nigeria products. We have had a forum on it and we’ve recorded success, today they are coming up with buy made in Nigeria policy.”

He stated that the association has mandated the federal government not to sign the ECOWAS-EU Economic Partnership Agreement in its current form while advocating for the reviewing of Export Expansion Grant (EEG) which has been in limbo since 2014.

We are advocating for improve budgetary allocation for the upgrade of critical infrastructure by the Federal government as evidence for the establishment of the Development Bank of Nigeria.

The president, however, stated that the association has secured a favourable tariff regime for the pharmaceutical sector and promoted sector-specific incentives of national economic development.

While speaking on 2017 focus, Udemba maintained that MAN in consonance with its mandate would pursue some strategic issues on the association’s advocacy radar.

He urged the government to enforce significant improvement in infrastructure, especially power and transport.

He tasked the government on general improvement in the business operating environment, calling for the abolition of multiple taxations and unorthodox mode of collection and review of the CBN’s list of 41 items not valid for foreign exchange to enable manufacturers’ source critical raw materials that are not available locally.

Commenting on backwards integration policy of the government, he called for the development of the country’s abundant natural resources for industrial inputs and enactment of relevant manufacturing friendly laws.

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