Manufacturers and other private sector operators on Tuesday August 23 lamented how the foreign exchange restriction placed on 41 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria has badly affected operations in the business sector.
They said that since the restriction order was placed last year, about 272 firms had been forced out of business, 50 of which were manufacturing companies.
According to Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), some of the affected manufacturers have relocated to neighbouring countries while at least 222 small-scale businesses have closed shops, leading to 180,000 job losses.
The stakeholders in the economy including MAN, the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry have therefore called for a review of the policy.
Speaking at the launch of a report on the manufacturing sector by NOI Polls Limited, in collaboration with the Centre for the Studies of Economies of Africa, the Director, Economics and Statistics, MAN, Mr. Ambrose Oruche, described the unavailability of productive as the major challenge confronting manufacturers.
He attributed the problem largely to the ban by the CBN on certain items from acessing the official window of the forex market, adding that the current operating environment was too harsh for many manufacturers to continue to operate.
Presently, about 50 manufacturers have closed shop, while some have downsized. Some manufacturers are still producing due to their love for this country. Government’s policy on cement should have been adopted in this case. In the case of cement, Nigeria used to be a net importer of cement, but the government set up a policy over a five-year period, which made it possible that today, we are a net exporter of the commodity.
He also listed high interest rates, poor power supply, policy inconsistency, poor patronage of locally manufactured products, poor supporting infrastructure, among others, as the challenges confronting manufacturers.