By Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The National President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs has said that his members have been expending an average of N9 billion daily to generate electricity in their factories.
Jacobs, who spoke during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, in his office in Abuja yesterday, described the supply of power from the national grid as horrible, adding that majority of their members still generate electricity to power their machines.
He said: “From last year, nothing has changed in the sector; we all know that in terms of generating power, our members spend billions of naira and this is going up daily because we are daily increasing capacity. I think, it is more than N9 billion daily.”
Jacobs, however, declined to comment on the foreign exchange restriction imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the Association’s members to source raw materials.
He said: “Well, there is a negotiation going on now between MAN and CBN over that policy; so I wouldn’t like to comment on that because there is an on-going discussion on that.
“I got a phone call from the CBN governor yesterday (Thursday) concerning our comments in the newspapers on what is going on and what is happening to manufacturing as result of the foreign exchange crunch. He told me that they are going to deliberate on this and, likely, I will be going there very soon.”
He said the association was encouraging its member to embrace backward integration and import substitution as a means of reducing dependence on importation.
Jacobs said: “On lack of utilisation of local raw materials, we are talking about import substitution and backward integration. Our industries over the years have been built on importation.
“Today, we are advocating for a paradigm shift away from importation to utilising our local raw materials. We have quite a lot of local raw materials; Nigeria is blessed with abundant raw resources that could be converted into raw materials.
“We are encouraging our members, the ministry and all the research institutions under it to embrace the idea of developing our own local raw materials from these abundant raw materials that we have around.”
He bemoaned the imposition of multiple taxation by the different tiers of government as disincentive to business, stressing: “Multiple taxations is killing; manufacturers are good corporate citizens. We want to pay our taxes but our concern is the issues of multiple taxations.”
The minister admitted that members of the association were operating under difficult conditions, saying that Nigeria had no reason to remain an importing country.
He pledged the ministry’s commitment to collaborate with the association by making its research finding available to MAN members.
He said: “The ministry is determined to promote Made-in-Nigerian products with a very high standard that will compete internationally.
“We shall try and meet those standards and Nigerians must try now to meet those standards in view of the state of the economy for us to grow our economy.”
He assured that the present administration was seeking solution to the inadequate power supply through exploring different forms of generating and distributing energy.
“We want you to look into a number of our research findings and the finished goods that are awaiting commercialisation.
“We want MAN to look into this because many companies abroad rely on new products in the market to survive and to make profit as profitability is enhanced by the number of new products that are introduced,” Onu said.