THEWILL, DECEMBER 30TH – The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has been assured by President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration will do everything possible to improve access to foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials and machinery.

In response to requests for the manufacturing sector to contribute more to the Nigerian economy, Buhari spoke on Wednesday at the State House during an advocacy visit by the leadership of MAN.

The president told the Mansur Ahmed-led MAN executives that the relevant ministry would revisit their concerns about the increase in excise duties on selected products and other tariff-related matters, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

On the African Continental Free Trade Area, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that Nigeria would expedite the process of establishing the Designated Competent Authority, which will oversee the administration of the Rules of Origin and Commission, as well as the automation of the issuance of electronic Certificates of Origin.

He also stated that the federal government would ensure the establishment of relevant structured platforms for monitoring and evaluation of the Ease of Doing Business’ performance, as well as increased government patronage of made in Nigeria products.

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“Our strategic plan to increase manufacturing activities in the country is on track,” he said.

“We will continue to improve 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.”

“We recognize that MAN is an important partner on this journey, and we will continue to work with you.”

Buhari said that a private-sector-led economy is the best way to create jobs, and he urged the MAN leadership to continue to encourage manufacturers, saying that the government recognizes their members’ and other private-sector organizations’ resilience in promoting a thriving manufacturing sector in Nigeria.

On the impact of COVID-19 on global economies, the President stated that while the pandemic harmed the Nigerian economy by causing price fluctuations in oil, his administration has effectively contained the pandemic and other diseases’ spread.

He went on to say that the federal government would continue to use prudent methods of judiciously allocating limited revenue to keep the economy afloat and stimulate growth.

President Buhari also emphasized that, despite limited resources, his administration has made significant progress in road and rail infrastructure development, manufacturing sector stimulus packages, energy management, and exporter support to improve the operating environment for Nigerian businesses.

“These projects are on display for everyone to see. Furthermore, we are pursuing reforms in the ease of doing business with vigour, and we are currently putting in place other necessary policy measures and incentives to ensure full recovery from the effects of COVID-19, to sustain economic development, and to further protect the economy from the potential impact of global crude oil price fluctuations.

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“I have carefully considered all of the challenges outlined by the President of MAN, and I can assure you that, as we have in the past, we will consider some of the constraints that have yet to be fully addressed, particularly those that are consistent with our policies and programs for economic recovery and sustainable development.”

“Let me assure you that this Administration is fully aware that agriculture and a viable domestic manufacturing sector are critical to Nigeria’s survival…

When I say agriculture, I’m referring to the agro-allied sector, which is the value-added component of the value chain.

He stated, “A strong manufacturing sector creates more jobs and wealth for our people.”

Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, promised that the Ministry would continue to work with MAN on policy, trade, and creating an environment that would help businesses grow in Nigeria.

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