The Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group, Odiri Erewa-Meggison has said that the manufacturing sector is currently experiencing the toughest period in the history of its existence.
Erewa-Meggison stated this on Wednesday during the Annual General Meeting of MAN’s export wing. The event was themed ‘Manufactured Products’ Competitiveness under the AfCFTA amidst increasing high cost of production in Nigeria.’
While addressing the gathering during her opening remarks, she noted that since the pandemic, exporters have struggled with reduced international demand coupled with domestic economic challenges such as high exchange rates, high cost of energy, multiple levies and taxes, port congestion, unending security, infrastructural challenges, among others.
She said, “You will agree with me that the choice of the theme for our AGM comes at the appropriate time considering the fact that the manufacturing sector is experiencing the toughest period in the history of its existence as a result of the prevailing economic situation in Nigeria.”
Erewa-Meggison appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider the 34 deserving exporters that were stepped down by the 9th Assembly from participating in the Promissory Notes Programmes.
On his part, the Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said that the importance of cultivating an export-driven economy cannot be overemphasised.
He called on manufacturers to remain resilient while navigating through the challenging business environment in order to leverage the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
He said, “Export is very important to us as a nation. A lot of people have said that what we need to do is to move away from our comparative advantage and focus on export-driven development. This is why MAN, for more than five decades has concentrated on making Nigeria’s manufacturing competitive.
“So, the theme for this year is very special because we are looking at our competitiveness even in the midst of rising production costs. You will all agree with me that one of the most difficult things to do in Nigeria is to drive down your costs because inflation continues to head north, while profitability heads south. This is the reality that we face every day.”
In his keynote lecture, the Dean of the School of Business, University of Ibadan, Prof Adeolu Adewuyi noted that a high and sustained living standard cannot be attained and sustained by any nation without considerable improvements in its manufacturing sector.