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We’ll address forex supply to manufacturers – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to take appropriate measures to improve access to foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials and machines that are…

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to take appropriate measures to improve access to foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials and machines that are not available locally.

Buhari stated this during an advocacy visit of the leadership of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), led by Mansur Ahmed, to the Presidential Villa Abuja, on Wednesday. 

The president, who was reacting to requests on making the manufacturing sector contribute more to the Nigerian economy, said the relevant ministry would revisit their concerns about the increase in excise duties on the identified products and other tariff-related matters

On the African Continental Free Trade Area, he said Nigeria would fast track the process of setting up the Designated Competent Authority that would superintend the administration of Rules of Origin and Commission as well as the automation for issuance of electronic Certificate of Origin.

He said the government would also ensure that relevant structured platforms are established for monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the Ease of Doing Business and improved Government patronage of made in Nigeria products.

‘‘Our strategic plan to boost manufacturing activities in the country is on course.

‘‘We’ll continue to improve the patronage of locally made goods, bridge the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our tertiary institutions and ensure seamless access to long term finance for our Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises.

‘‘We recognize that MAN remains a key stakeholder in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you,’’ he said.

According to him, a private sector-led economy is a way to create jobs in the country.

He urged the leadership of MAN to continue to encourage manufacturers that the government recognized the resilience of their members and other private sector organisations in promoting a virile manufacturing sector in Nigeria.

‘‘I beseech you to continue to support the Government in our quest to provide the appropriate environment that will attract the necessary investment both domestic and foreign for the uplift of the nation’s economy,’’ he said.

On the impact of COVID-19 on world economies, Buhari noted that while the pandemic had an adverse impact on the Nigerian economy with the attendant fluctuations in the price of oil, his administration had effectively contained the spread of the pandemic and other diseases.

He said the government would continue to consistently deploy prudent means of judiciously utilising the limited revenue to sustain the economy and stimulate growth.  

‘‘Let me assure you that this administration is fully aware that the survival of Nigeria lies in agriculture and having a viable domestic manufacturing sector.

“I must emphasize here that when I say agriculture, I also refer to agro-allied business which is the value-added component in the value chain. A strong manufacturing sector creates more jobs and wealth for our people,’’ he said. 

On his part, the MAN president said the advocacy visit was largely motivated by two things: namely, to thank the president for all the support extended to the manufacturing sector since his assumption of office in 2015, and seek the urgent support of the federal government for the manufacturing sector to overcome the binding constraints to competitive manufacturing in Nigeria. (NAN)

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