The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s processes of allocating foreign exchange have its members in a dire situation.
The association said that the manufacturing business was becoming an endangered sector due to challenges ranging from forex storage to many other issues.
The Director-General of the association, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.
According to him, the government must deliberately address the issue of prioritising the allocation of scarce forex.
Ajayi-Kadir, who emphasised the importance of forex, said misplaced priority on the part of the government had caused the manufacturing sector to suffer the most with regard to the allocation of foreign exchange.
He said, “When we do exports and repatriate our profits, it goes through the CBN. So, they know every kobo that is coming into your account. When they get it, you can only get your money back at the official rate.
“The painful thing is that once you are subjected through all these processes and have gotten your money at the official rate including the little encouragement they give if you bring it through the I and E window, when you now want to import raw materials or spare parts or machines to produce again.
“You go to the money deposit banks, the ones that they are able to give you, if you are lucky, are about five per cent of what you want. You would now have to go to Bureau De Change, and we know their rates. So, we are shortchanged and this is why the sector’s performance is decreasing.”
The MAN DG said the only way Nigeria will get out of the current forex crisis would be to bolster local production of goods which can be manufactured within the country.
He urged the government to give priority to the productive sector by encouraging production activities in the country.
“There is no way you will get out of the forex crisis if you do not produce locally, and it is common sense that what you import is what you need dollars for. If we produce them in Nigeria we won’t need dollars to import them. So, we should give priority to the productive sector that has the capacity to revamp the economy and encourage production activities within the country.
“Manufacturing is becoming such an endangered profession. We have always said that manufacturing is not a business endeavour like any other. It is a deliberate choice that every country has to make. There is no country in the world that has become developed that does not have a vibrant manufacturing industry,” he stated further.