By Merit Ibe

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has lamented that it has lost between 56 to 60 percent  of its members in the North-East to insecurity.

The Director-General of the association, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who made the remark during a television interview, decried the business environment for manufacturers, which he said is tough and called for the urgent intervention of the federal government.

Ajayi-Kadir noted that some manufacturers  pay for security more than the taxes  because it (security expense) has to be on a continuous basis. He said that insecurity is a disincentive to manufacturing just like any other business and so the government needs to urgently intervene.

“There’s no doubt that this current administration is doing a lot. Some of us are aware of what is being done but we need to do more and there’s a sense of urgency in this because we need all that we can muster to be able to get out of this process.

“Insecurity is a major challenge, I can tell you that we lost between 56 to 60 per cent of our members in the North-East to insecurity, they just stopped production. You now look at the cost that you need to incur to be secured, this was something that many years ago was non-existent. We had local communities supporting industries because they are positively impacted but now, there are infiltrations even from outside of the immediate community and the frustration that the people within the community feel has made them to turn the other way and so it increases our cost,” he said.

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He pointed out that the manufacturing sector in Nigeria has continued to under perform  because of the binding constraints like insecurity, multiple taxation, high energy cost among others that the environment has continued to throw.

“President Bola Tinubu, in the first one month of assuming office, made it clear that he was going to promote domestic production. So, we assumed that when he made this pronouncement, he was committed to removing those constraints. What is just remaining is for us to see his lieutenants get to work and for the policies that are emanating from the government to be consistent with the statements that the President has made.

“If the government is committed to that, every statement that the President is going to make will need to be benchmarked against that promise so we wouldn’t have a situation where cost of manufacturing will continue to climb.

“We won’t have a situation where the fiscal policy and the monetary policies will continue to clash and then limit the performance of the sector. We wouldn’t have things that we don’t expect, we wouldn’t have surprises that will spring up and more or less affect all the progress that we have been making. There’s no doubt that some of these reforms have promoted domestic production but one is at a loss as to how to reconcile it with some of the policies that constrain the sector,” he said.

“On the issue of increase in electricity tariff: We recognise that cost cannot stay the same. We are not necessarily against increase in tariff. Let’s face it, all prices have gone up and those who supply power are business people, so their costs must be going up as well. It is not charity; power is not charity but then there are processes and there should be value for money. We need to follow these processes; we need to get value for money and there has to be engagement as indicated in the law and in the guidelines and in the regulations. You need to follow these processes. If you follow the processes, the DisCos will be able to do business, the manufacturer will be able to do business, the ordinary Nigerian will be able to have power and live a good life. So, it’s not possible for the Discos alone to be the ones that are happy, I must be able to buy power, I must be able to produce, I must be able to be competitive, I must be able to be profitable and I must be able to operate.”

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