Steel manufacturers charge govt on local patronage to boost production
FOR the present administration to achieve success from the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, it should enact laws to enforce patronage of made-in-Nigeria products, especially in the iron rod sub-sector, to protect it from going into extinction.
This was the position of Steelman, a sub-sectoral group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), while appealing to government to offer tax relief to the steel sector in order to ensure that industrial firms do not capitulate under the pressure of the harsh business climate in Nigeria.
The Chairman of Steelman, Sunil Goel, saif this during the 2014/2015 yearly general meeting of the sub-sector, adding that government should also give priority to the provision and repair of existing infrastructure in the country.
Goel, who stressed the need for government to encourage exportation of domestic iron rods by allowing free sale of foreign exchange received or some other measures, emphasised the need for downward review of gas price in Nigeria so as to be at par with the international gas price.
Also, pricing of gas in foreign currency, as is the current practice in Nigeria should be discouraged. Gas pricing should be in local currency. In the interest of the growth of Nigerian economy, the government should endeavour to carry along the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in all the decisions that affect them. In the spirit of level play ground; government should avoid giving preferential treatment to any particular company in terms of waivers or concessions.
The sub-sector, as we are all aware, has been faced with several challenges, among which are insufficient supply and high electricity tariff; high price of gas; high duty rate on procurement of some of the major raw materials; lack of patronage of local products from government and agencies; non restriction of importation, indiscriminate dispensation of waivers and concessions; infrastructural defect and policy inconsistencies of government with regard to investments in projects, among others,” he said.
The chairman noted that despite the challenges, members of the sub-sector have resolutely ensured that their businesses are kept alive without profit margin, in order to keep people employed.
ensure that their numerous staff could remain and be able to put food on the family table, to ensure that the economy does not suffer unnecessary setback due to massive closure of companies in the steel industry.
According to him, to maintain the factors, the sub-sector had to champion the fight against National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) on the decision to hike the electricity tariff, despite adverse economic conditions.
He appealed to all stakeholders to be sincere and open-minded, to weigh the gravity of all deliberations and decisions.