The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(MAN) has outlined the sector’s expectations for the incoming administration within the first 100 days in office to revitalise industrialisation.
Its President, Otunba Francis Meshioye, said this at the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) Agenda Setting for the Incoming Federal Government Administration on Thursday in Lagos.
Meshioye, represented by Mr Ambrose Oruche, Head of Corporate Affairs, MAN, said that a change in administration was usually greeted with expectations, in view of promises made during electioneering campaigns.
He said the expectations would also assist to increase the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said though MAN was an advocacy group and apolitical, the association had expectations from the incoming government.
According to him, the association looks forward to working with the incoming government to accelerate Nigerian economic development, especially the manufacturing sector.
“The assumption is that the new government will move swiftly to fulfill those promises they made and thereby justify the confidence reposed by the electorate.
“This is the essence of the social contract and in a democratic society, the government is expected to be accountable to the people and deliver on the promises made.
“I am convinced that this momentous gathering symbolises not only the ceremony marking the power transition in the country but also a mission to rebuild the future of our country.
“This is by setting a reasonably transformative policy agenda to guide the policy decisions and actions of the new leadership,” he said.
Meshioye noted that the magnitude of the responsibility awaiting the administration was enormous, demanding high senses of determination, and resourcefulness.
He said that almost all parts of the economy was presently in shambles, and in crisis.
According to him, the crisis ranges from political and social rascality to arrays of economic imbalances.
He said the economic imbalances were in terms of multiple taxes, fees, and levies imposed by all tiers of government.
Others, he said, include foreign exchange scarcity, bourgeoning borrowing interest rate, energy insecurity, and an infrastructural deficit in a highly inflationary environment.
According to him, all these have negative impacts on the real sector with graver implications on manufacturing, which has been battling poor performance and now on the verge of collapse.
“Emphatically, while the government believes in tax increments to rake in more revenue, the action is highly counter-productive.
Thus is because a high tax burden on manufacturing and small and medium-scale businesses will squeeze their profit margins, which 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,” he said.
He urged the incoming administration to reverse the 2023 fiscal policy measure that raises taxes on beverages and tobacco and address the issue of multiple taxes within its first 100 days.
He added that the productive sector should be given maximum priority for the general good of all, in terms of wealth and job creation for the nation.
Meshioye insisted that government must promote the use of local content by mandating the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products by all government parastatals, agencies, and ministries as enshrined in Executive Orders 003 and 004.
“Let us not forget that the manufacturing sector is also not doing well due in part to inadequate support for local content development in the sector by government parastatals, agencies, and ministries.
“For instance, there is significant potential in the textile industry to produce high-quality military and paramilitary wear and apparel for the government that cannot be compromised and it is unfortunate that these are still being imported into the country.
“Other critical issues of consideration include insufficient raw materials for the manufacturing sector, counterfeiting, smuggling, and importation of substandard products, inadequate and hard-to-get long-term funds, and the negative impact of the overlapping roles of some government agencies.
“Together, we must build a resilient manufacturing industry that will withstand the test of time and safeguard the wealth of our nation,” he said.
Meshioye also urged government to identify and break the power broker militating against the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex to make available raw materials for our steel and automobile industries.