The Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) a sub-group within the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) yesterday decried the high cost of doing business in the country, including the challenge of access to foreign exchange.
OPTS comprises both local and foreign-owned companies registered in Nigeria who hold an Oil Prospecting License (OPL) or an Oil Mining Licence (OML) in the country.
Speaking on the topic “Technological Capacity Development and Technology Transfer” on the first day of the Nigerian Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference in Abuja, Chairman of OPTS, who is also the Managing Director of Total Energies, Mr. Mike Sangster, noted that if sorted out, Nigeria’s economic potential will be realised.
In addition, Sangster who was represented by the Chairman, Sub-commitee on Nigerian Content Development of the OPTS, Mr. Joseph Ofili, stated that importing materials for production remains a problem due to the challenges of accessing foreign exchange for large scale projects.
He stressed that there’s also a huge gap in Africa in terms of technology, noting that one of the challenges to technology transfer is the infrastructure value chain which needs to be improved upon.
“For commercial terms, don’t forget that it is investors that are coming to put their money here; so, if they feel that the commercial terms are not favourable they will hold back their investment.
“Another one is high cost of doing business. There is no point doing a beautiful technology in China and bringing it back to Nigeria and you can’t use it because you have not settled the environment,” Sangster stated.
According to Sangster, while efforts to solve the problems are ongoing, there is the need for conscious and concerted moves to attract investment.
In his intervention, the MAN representative, Dr Timi Austen-Peters, who also doubles as the Chairman of Dorman Long Engineering, listed foreign exchange issues, adequate power supply as well as access to funding as some of the problems facing manufacturers in the country.
“Forex is a problem, even in our daily lives, not to talk of importing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel to be able to produce something. The developmental role of government cannot be overstated.
“An enabling environment is very important to be able to manufacture effectively.”