By Goddy Egene
The federal government has reiterated its commitment towards boosting foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria, just as it assured manufacturers of enabling environment that will enhance their competitiveness.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, stated this at the inauguration of the Systems House of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc’s subsidiary, Vitapur Nigeria Limited in Lagos on Tuesday.
Abubakar stated that the technological innovation has potential to enhance Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings among others.
“Availability of Ozone-friendly and Low Global Potential blowing agents in the production of rigid foam. Generation of foreign exchange for the country from export of Methyl formate and foreign exchange savings from local production. Building of local capacity in the formulation of Methyl formate-based systems and consequently generating employment and wealth.
“The Methyl formate systems will serve as source of raw material to ice making machine manufacturers. The project will lead to increased capacity utilization in enterprises that will be using the Methyl formate being produced by Vitapur,” Abubakar said.
In his welcome address, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi, expressed optimism that the collaborative efforts of the government through its agencies such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) had largely accounted for the success of the project.
“I will like to crave the indulgence of the Minister to use your good office in engendering government policies that will foster an enabling environment for private entrepreneurs to set up Sandwich panel production lines across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
“For example, the current tax regime that subjects one of our major materials (pre-painted galvanized induced steel) to five per cent import levy and 40 per cent Customs duty while imported insulated panels are granted import levy and Customs duty waiver is a major disincentive to local manufacturers. This has a huge impact on our cost of production and ability to compete with imported finished products.
“ In addition, I will like to advocate speedy approval for the commencement of HPMP phase II with Vitapur and outright ban on importation of ODS PU chemicals and products into Nigeria to encourage local production,” Adeniyi said.
Chairman of Vitafoam, Dr. Bamidele Makanjuola, assured the federal government that Vitafaom and its subsidiaries would continue to strive towards generating foreign exchange for Nigeria. He stressed that Vitapur had blazed the trail of leveraging panels to build schools across Nigeria, especially, in the northern part where panels insulate the buildings from heat.