President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) who was re-elected for a second term of two years has said that the manufacturing sector holds the key to the country’s economic growth, even as he expressed optimism of its rejuvenation.
Mr. Mansur Ahmed, an Engineer, and Group Executive Director at Dangote Group was earlier elected in 2018 as the 10th President of the 50-year-old Association.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, Mr. Ahmed, said some of the advocacy efforts of the Association has led to the improvement in some incentive schemes, which include: Bonifide Manufacturers Scheme, Manufacturers-in-Bond Scheme, the establishment of the Bank of Industry and Export Expansion Grant, now being enjoyed by export-oriented members.
He said MAN has also carried numerous policy advocacies on issues affecting manufacturers and the Nigerian economy as a whole.
According to MAN President, top on the challenge the Association is addressing is the inadequate supply of forex to the productive sector.
He said: “Manufacturers have been finding it difficult to source forex for importation of machines and raw materials that are not available in the country at the moment. Whilst we agree that the recent CBN policy on non-allocation of forex to the BDCs is apt, we are constrained to observe that it has not translated to significant supply to manufacturers.”
Other issues that will also take center stage during his second term, are issues of incentives to manufacturers, electricity supply from the national grid, access to long time loans, low patronage from the government being the biggest spender, poor trade facilitation framework at the Lagos port, high cost of doing business and African Continental Free Trade Area(AFCFTA) among others.
Mr. Ahmed also called on the government to establish the Designated Competent Authority that will superintend the administration of Rules of Origin, and as well commence discussion with neighboring countries on how to jointly develop infrastructure along with strategic economic hubs within the region and the continent.
The MAN president urged the government to request the African Union and the AFCFTA secretariat to release the proposed Special Economic Zones Regulation to enable stakeholders to quickly consider its compliance.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadiri, said earlier that based on MAN’s recommendation, the government should further support the manufacturing sector to fully rebound on the path of growth.
Mr. Ahmed was at a time the Director-General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), where he led the conceptualization and development of the PPP policy framework for Nigeria.
He was also Chief Executive Officer of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission of Nigeria (ICRC), until his retirement in 2012.
He led the Commission to win the Africa Investor PPP Champion of the Year 2010.
He served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), including Managing Director and Chief Executive.