Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN; National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, NASME, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, LCCI, on Tuesday, lamented their frustrations over the new policies of the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria on foreign exchange.
They group, under the aegis of Organised Private Sector (OPS), stated that due to the harsh economic policies in Nigeria, businesses have refused to repatriate about $10 billion into the country.
This view was expressed at a ‘Stakeholders Dialogue on the Manufacturing Sector in Nigeria’, organised by NOIPoll and the Centre for the Study of the Economics of Africa, CSEA in Lagos.
The group stated that about 272 manufactures have performed poorly over the last couple of months, while thousands of jobs are being cut on a daily basis.
Mr. Vincent Nwani, Director, Research and Advocacy, LCCI, in his presentation at the forum, called for an urgent review of the CBN’s policy on the restriction of access to foreign exchange placed on 41 items.
Nwani said “CBN has no option but to revisit and review the list, as about16 of the total items in the list, serve as critical raw materials for intermediate goods produced in Nigeria, especially as the country lack the capacity for optimal production of the items.
Specifically, he said the ban on oil palm has led to the loss of about 100,000 jobs over the last couple of months, with major blue chip companies in Nigeria relocating to neighbouring countries; while the ban on glass and glassware has led to the loss of 80,000 jobs mainly in the pharmaceutical industry, as companies in this sector now find it difficult to package their products.
He said, “Local production of oil palm is put at about 600 metric tonnes annually, but the total demand of the country is put at about 1.8 million metric tonnes. Today, Presco Oil has orders of up to December 2017 to fill, it is presently hard pressed with demands. Listing oil palms among the restricted items meant that we have a shortfall of about 1.2 million metric tonnes.
“Some of the items placed on the restriction list by the CBN should be restated until the country develops the capacity to produce them locally. Some of the items need a period of between three and seven years for the country to develop self-sufficiency in their production.
“For instance, it takes a minimum of five years for oil palm to be plant and for harvest. The CBN should have given us more time. The manufacturing and industrial sectors lost about N1.4 trillion as a result of foreign issues, while about 780 raw materials needed by the sector were affected by the restrictions placed by the CBN.
This is coming one day after the Apex Bank instructs the Commerical Banks to assign 60 per cent of their forex to Manufacturers and authorised dealers.