As President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to begin his second term in office, manufacturers in the country have urged him to address the challenges militating against the manufacturing sector and the economy.
The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Mansur Ahmed, made the call in Ibadan, during his familiarisation/facility visit at the factory of the British American Tobacco of Nigeria (BATN).
Specifically, Mansur said poor infrastructure which cuts across power, water supply, road network and inefficient port facilities, were making it more difficult for companies to compete with their peers outside the country.
He said: “The operating environment has to continue to be conducive, to be supported to improve performance of the sector. We are all aware of what the issue of poor infrastructure is causing. The fact that it’s making it more difficult for companies to compete with their peers outside the country, largely because they have to literally build their own infrastructure, whether it’s power supply, water supply, road network and so on.
“So, working together to ensure that government remains focused on the development and the expansion and improvement of infrastructure service has to be again, critical areas our association will continue to pursue.”
He noted that with the size of the country, relying on one inefficient port would not help, saying “we need to improve the current facility – the Apapa Ports, and also begin to improve the alternative ports outside Lagos and create new ports.”
Mansur who stated that the country’s economy was growing even in its current low rate of 2.3, 2.38 per cent, however, argued that by this time, at the current level, Nigeria ought to have at least two or more ports already existing to support the level of economic activity.
He also revealed that the manufacturing sector was currently contributing about 10 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stressing that it was less than what it should be doing, given the resources of the economy.
Meanwhile, the MAN boss has hailed BATN for its contributions to the sector and the nation’s economy.
He added: “First and foremost, I’m extremely impressed by the company, its operations especially its relation with its staff, understanding its position in the industry and in the economy and its long history over the several years it has been in Nigeria.
“I’m happy that it’s making the kind of contribution that industries should be making, and I think that one of the goals of MAN and of course, the Nigerian Government, is to grow the industry through expanding the manufacturing business, strengthening the manufacturing business and therefore creating the quality jobs that we see that are taking place here.”