The American Business Council says through increased collaboration between the private sector and the Government, and improved regulatory environment, Nigeria can become the Manufacturing hub of West Africa.
The ABC is the voice of American Businesses in Nigeria and the affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce. The council has member companies in key sectors, including global corporate brands in the FMCG sector.
The Media Parley organised by the American Business Council highlighted the need to have a more laser focus on IP issues, counterfeits and parallel trade which impacts government tax revenues and are detailers to Nigeria’s growth aspirations as a West Africa hub.
Industry players in the FMCG sector said Nigeria was an attractive platform and destination for manufacturers, and if the challenges and bottlenecks were tackled, the country would become a major hub in West Africa.
The pointed out the need to fix the power sector to reduce the high energy costs incurred NY local manufacturers.
Apart from power, the group called on the government to put up infrastructure such as good roads and railway system across the country to enable players in the real sector move the products.
The stakeholders noted that government was responsive to requests from the private sector for amendments of policies and guidelines that might impinge the slow but steady growth of the manufacturing sector.
The Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary, American Business Council, Margaret Olele, noted that â€œwhile both local and foreign firms were affected by the activities of counterfeiters, government also loses a lot of revenue that could have been generated from tax when firms perform well in the economyâ€.
The Marketing Manager of Kimberly- Clark, Sub- Saharan Africa, Oluwakemi Saliu, commented that Nigeria offers considerable opportunity to FMCG’s given the increasing number of consumers in the country.
â€œLocal manufacturers employing local people to produce local goods are undermined when parallel imports enter the country. At Kimberly-Clark, we are responding to consumer needs with innovative product offerings including miniaturized items to cater for different segments and by addressing the needs of the Nigeria marketâ€, she said.
On his part, Chief Operating Officer, Tolaram Group, Girish Sharma, stated that the company has diversified its offerings and has embarked on an expansion drive and will invest 20 billion naira in Nigeria after the initial 10billion naira investment in the country.
In the last quarter of 2017, the manufacturing sector, which grew by 0.14 percent contributed 10 trillion naira to the GDP last year with the food beverage and tobacco alone representing 45.5 percent of the sector’s contribution.