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President Buhari assures manufacturers access to forex

President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Alhaji Mansur Ahmed formally presents the new logo and annual report of the association to President Buhari.

The Federal Government is to take appropriate measures to improve access to foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials and machines that are not available locally.

President Buhari stated this in Abuja while receiving the leadership of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, MAN, on an advocacy visit.

The President told the Mansur Ahmed-led executives of MAN that the relevant ministry would revisit their concerns about the increase in excise duties on identified products and other tariff-related matters.

On the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, the President said Nigeria would fast-track the process of setting up the Designated Competent Authority that will superintend the administration of Rules of Origin and Commission, as well as the automation for issuance of electronic Certificate of Origin.

He added that the Federal Government would ensure that relevant structured platforms were established for monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the Ease of Doing Business and improved government patronage of made in Nigeria products.

The President said the objective was to improve the patronage of locally made goods, bridge the gap between skills required by industry and those provided by tertiary institutions to ensure seamless access to long-term finance for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises SMEs.

He noted that MAN had remained a key stakeholder in boosting the economy, saying that his administration will continue engagement with the association.

Affirming his belief that a private sector-led economy is a way to create jobs in the country, President Buhari urged the leadership of MAN to continue to encourage manufacturers that the government had recognised the resilience of their members and other private sector organisations in promoting a virile manufacturing sector.

He sought the association’s continued support to the government’s quest to provide the appropriate environment that would attract the necessary investment for the upliftment of the nation’s economy.

President Buhari also used the occasion to re-emphasise that in spite of limited resources, his government had made appreciable progress in road and rail infrastructure development; provision of stimulus packages for the manufacturing sector, improvement in energy management and support for exporters with a view to improving the operating environment for businesses in Nigeria.

The President said his administration was vigorously pursuing reforms on ease of doing business and currently putting in place other necessary policy measures and incentives that would guarantee full recovery from the consequences of Covid-19, sustain economic development and further shield the economy from the potential impact of fluctuations in the price of crude oil.

The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum had pledged that the ministry would continue to work with MAN in the areas of policy, trade, and creating an environment to facilitate the growth of businesses in Nigeria.

Earlier, the President of MAN, Alhaji Mansur Ahmad, said the advocacy visit was largely motivated by the need to show appreciation to President Buhari for the support extended to the manufacturing sector, and to seek the urgent support of the Federal Government for the manufacturing sector to overcome the binding constraints to competitive manufacturing in Nigeria.

Alhaji Ahmed used the occasion to formally present the new logo and annual report of the association to President Buhari.

Writing by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino