Manufacturers got an assurance yesterday on improved access to foreign exchange (forex) on raw materials that are not available locally.
They got the assurance from President Muhammadu Buhari during an advocacy visit by the leadership of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to the State House in Abuja.
According to the President, the relevant ministry had been directed to revisit their concerns about the increase in excise duties on the identified products and other tariff-related matters.
He was reacting to requests by MAN President Mansur Ahmed, who led delegation, on the need to create an enabling environment for the manufacturing sector to contribute more to the economy.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President also assured MAN that Nigeria will take steps to fully maximize the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
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The statement said the government will fast-track the establishment of the authority to superintend the administration of Rules of Origin and Commission as well as the automation for issuance of Electronic Certificate of Origin for AfCFTA.
It added that the Federal Government would also ensure that relevant structured platforms are established for monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the Ease of Doing Business and improved government patronage of made in Nigeria products.
Buhari was quoted as saying: “Our strategic plan to boost manufacturing activities in the country is on course. We will continue to improve the patronage of locally made goods, bridge the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by our tertiary institutions and ensure seamless access to long term finance for our Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
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“We recognise that MAN remains a key stakeholder in this journey and we will continue our engagement with you.”
Affirming the belief that a private sector-led economy is the way to create jobs in the country, President Buhari urged the MAN leadership to impress it on manufacturers that the government recognises their resilience in promoting a virile economy.
“I beseech you to continue to support the government in our quest to provide the appropriate environment that will attract the necessary investment both domestic and foreign, for the upliftment of the nation’s economy,” he said.