‘Our past influencing industrial policy on raw materials import’
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has attributed continued dependence on importation of raw materials for local production on a faulty industrial policy adopted since the colonial era.
According to MAN, the industrial sector had over time depended on importation of semi-finished goods with minimal value-addition being done in the country, a practice that has undermined the exploitation raw materials that are readily available in the country.
MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs in chat with Journalists, explained that though the adopted industrial policy is faulty, the easing recession has led to a gradual shift from such practice by manufacturers, in order to reduce dependence on importation and save scarce foreign exchange.
Jacobs added that efforts are underway to ensure that the shift in practice is witnessed within the next decade in the industrial landscape by encouraging local producers to look inwards for raw materials and integrate other operators in the value chain.
According to him, integrating local producers in the value-chain through policy frameworks will help revive the ailing sector as well as promote job creation efforts of the real sector.
MAN had noted that local sourcing of raw materials remains the only sustainable option for them in ensuring that they operate optimally and reduce dependence on importation for raw materials.
To this end, MAN has concluded plans to promote the cause by deepening intra-membership patronage among its members by first sourcing inputs from one another before contemplating import, noting that the Federal Government can boost this effort by increasing patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods.
Through the intra-membership patronage, MAN hopes to ensure that the community working capital of operators will continue to revolve in the sector and in the economy without significant import leakages.
Also, consumer advocate and founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Mrs. Sola Salako-Ajulo, urged the media to magnify the campaign so that everybody would be aware of it.
Salako-Ajulo said that with the amount of foreign debt Nigeria was accumulating, put at $11bn, the country might become another Greece and Venezuela in the next 10 years if it failed to stop importation of products being produced locally.
She said with 60 per cent home-based public procurement, youth unemployment would reduce by 35 per cent.
Since March the CBN has stepped up its sales of forex to importers, small and medium enterprises and retail (for invisibles). The consequences for the sector have been far greater availability of raw materials and naira appreciation on the parallel market, with the food and beverages segment being the main beneficiary.
On backward integration, he said: “What is sustainable is backward integration and looking inward. The ban of 41 items from foreign exchange market has indeed helped our members to think seriously about looking inward. Presently, everybody is doing what they can to source raw materials locally. We are going into partnerships with research institutes, as well as tertiary institutions to see how we can develop the resources in those institutions to help in sourcing raw materials.
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