By Merit Ibe

Stakeholders in the manufacturing sector have proffered solutions to supply chain challenges bedevilling operators in the country.

According to them, in a society where corruption and bribery are the norms and unemployment is high, businesses need to build capability and create mentorship in the supply chain, which starts from every  individual.

They expressed concerns about the poor state of infrastructure, saying it has caused many manufacturing concerns to relocate, while some have remained idle.

The stakeholders bared their minds during a webinar on managing supply chain challenges  in Nigeria, organised by the the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). 

The Supply Chain Director for sub-Saharan Africa, Mondelez International, Ete Pinnick, said the Federal  Government’s policies were policing rather than regulating, urging for focus on policies that would favour supply chain development.

He called  for  basic infrastructure in place to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

“I will expect that the Federal Government starts to put the basic infrastructure in place in its quest to enjoy the benefits of the trade.” He advised operators to build capacities and mentorship in a country where corruption is high.

“Unemployment is above 32 per cent and it has created a lot of insecurity. The number of people who died as a result of insecurity as of last year was more than the people that have died from COVID-19.

“We need to build a supply chain that has integrity and does not take bribes. A supply chain that is transparent and accountable.

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“It might delay business sometimes, but we need to build one chain that is transparent.”

On accountability,  Pinnick said most business plans were on paper and needed to be operationalised, or else it would remain just a plan and does not make any difference.

“For a resilient supply chain, capability needs to be  built on values  that will see beyond today.”

He suggested that MAN should continue to engage the government and regulators, adding that “we need a structured approach, we need a change, which I encourage. The world is dynamic.

He decried a situation where policies come without due consultation, adding that MAN and other private sector organisations need to be consulted for wider views.

The Supply Chain Director, Kimberly-Clark Nigeria, Mrs. Azukaego Chukwuelue, explained that manufacturers were losing sleep over the challenge, as factories are lying idle waiting for raw materials to arrive for production, while also pointing out that scarcity of forex and inadequate shipping lines and absence of skilled labour are major issues impacting supply chain management in the country.

According to her, Nigeria is not close to effective service delivery as consumer complaints are high.

“There is an urgent need for professionals to engage with operators in supply chain management. She added that capability is a major gap that business owners need to fill as they grow in the chain.

At the end of the day, skills  such as technology need to be built into the chain space because what we have on ground cannot do it. “We need technology to drive our supply chain. This will ensure sustainable supply chain. Plan should be tied to purpose as you build competence and understand the drive to move on.”


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