Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
National President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr. Mansur Ahmed, has given support of his Association to the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele’s decision to withdraw foreign exchange from Bureaux De Change (BDCs) in the country.
The MAN boss, who lamented the effects of activities of the BDCs on the manufacturing sector said though CBN policy would temporarily hike exchange rate, said this would be temporary and at the end the country’s economy would be better for it.
Engr. Ahmed spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Kwara and Kogi states branch of the association, stressing that foreign exchange is not a commodity that should be taken to the market and traded.
“The decision by the CBN to withdraw supply of foreign exchange from the Bureaux De Change is one that the manufacturing sector is fully in support of”, he enthused, adding: “Foreign exchange is not a commodity that should be taken to the market and traded. Its availability is intended to allow those that are producing goods and services to bring in the necessary materials and equipment required in order to produce those goods and services at affordable prices.”
Ahmed commended the efforts of the Governors of Kwara and Kogi states, AbdulRahman AbulRazaq and Yahaya Bello respectively, in improving infrastructure, including transport, energy and security, urging them to sustain and improve on the provision of these facilities within and around industrial areas.
In particular, the President stressed the need for the governors to direct attention to the Ajaokuta-Lokoja axis in Kogi state and the Avon road in Asa , Kwara state in order to boost industrial activities and expand opportunities for jobs and wealth creation activities for the citizenry in the two states.
“Other initiatives that will make your States more attractive to investors will include the establishment of industrial parks and expansion of skill acquisitions centres for the growing numbers of young peoplex, he added.
Lauding the two governors for their roles in resolving the haulage tax which had bothered manufacturers, MAN boss said it is imperative for government at all levels to engage and consult with the private sector more closely, noting that this would facilitate a shared understanding of what must be done to build resilience and emerge stronger.
In his welcome address, the Branch Chairman, Pharm. Bioku Rahmon, said there are certain wearying disorders which the government must quickly address in order to effectively provide a sustainable plate of support for Nigerian industrialists.
These, he said, “include high and fast rising debt profile of Nigeria which continues to weaken government’s capacity to build the infrastructure required by industries; mounting insecurity in Nigeria; sharp and continuous fall in the value of Naira; shrinking access to loan opportunities; lengthy processes and delays in the clearing of goods at the Nigerian Ports, multiple taxation, and scarcity of foreign exchange currency (Dollar).”
These disorders and other sundry matters, he said, constitute a great hindrance to the growth and development of private industries in the country, adding that government must holistically address these challenges if Nigeria is to develop economically and industrially.
The Chairman said: “Government which opened our door to to this continental competition owes us of only moral duty but also legal obligation to rescue us by providing the required infrastructural and institutional backups to enable us adapt to this Africa-wide competition.”
Rahmon commended Governor AbdulRazaq on his administration’s delivery of effective, efficient and people oriented service in the state, particularly the giant strides of the administration on the security front.