Despite the appreciable progress recorded in the foreign exchange market since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced its new foreign exchange policy, manufacturers in the country have decried their inability to get the greenback to import raw materials for production.
They have therefore called on the federal government to create a special window to enable them access foreign exchange for importation of raw materials.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues in a chat with journalists during a public lecture he delivered at the University of Lagos, the Group Managing Director of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi, enjoined the federal government to take urgent steps to address the matter to save the economy.
According to him, “The first half of the year was not good for manufacturers, a lot of policy changes have taken place but it is too early to begin to think that they will have any impact on businesses yet. On the 20th of last month when the CBN announced the new foreign exchange policy, a huge amount of dollars was released into the system and everybody thought it was going to continue that way.”
He added: “ As I speak to you now, we are made to do future placements for dollars. It is tenured 30, 90 days for anyone to be able to access the dollars. The question I asked them is if I am told I can only get the greenback every 90 days what happens before the 90 days? I should fold my hands and wait for what I don’t have guaranty I am going to get. For some time now we have bided for N282, N285/$ and we didn’t get it. All we were told is “your bid is not successful.”
He added: “Where should manufacturers go to get dollars to buy raw materials? We have repeatedly asked this question without an answer. We have asked the government to create a window for the real sector, not traders to access the dollar to get materials to produce and sustain the economy. If that does not happen we will remain where we are. Half year is gone, the second half is year and we still do not have direction.”
Government, he stated, can identify the real manufacturers by checking their status with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other organs of government.
He advised the federal government to set up committees to visits local manufacturers to see what they are doing and arrange for them to get dollars for raw materials.
“In-fact we have been asked to fill foams with the Raw Materials Research Council (RMRC) to confirm what materials we need for production, that we have done. They issues licences for imports of raw materials, if you don’t have the licence how possible is it for you to import. They know who the manufacturers are, it is not rocket science, “he said.