MAN raises alarm over implications of lifting importation ban on 43 items by CBN

Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has raised the alarm over implications and dangers envisaged on the reversal of the 43 items on the prohibition list by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), describing it as policy summersault.

In a statement by the Vice President of MAN, South-West Zone, Dr. Kamoru Yusuf, who is also the Chairman Basic Metal, Iron and Steel and Fabricated Metal Products, said that reversal of the 43 items “is not only dangerous but also very unhealthy for the nation’s economy”.

Dr. Yusuf, who said that Nigeria is currently in a very dangerous situation, added that her economy is exposed to numerous challenges and risks. 

“The effect of the reversal and removal of ban on the 43 items will create a serious setback on the productive sector; thereby impacting negatively on virtually all other critical areas; such as unemployment, youth restiveness, wrong declaration at the ports, importation and flooding of Nigeria market with substandard products and above all, proliferation of the country with arms and ammunitions.

“As I speak with you, most financial institutions are really confused, and this policy, if not quickly reversed, may lead to the distress of some banks while massive loss of jobs is looming. This fear is open for the CBN to verify”, he said.

The chieftain of the MAN, however, suggested solutions in the Free Trade Zone, lost tax and revenue. 

“Part of the possible solution is the immediate review of the policy surrounding the operation at the free trade zone in Nigeria, which has been subjected to serious abuses with little or no value addition to the economy nor generating FX to the country.

MAN raises alarm over implications of lifting importation ban on 43 items by CBN

“Government needs to investigate and harvest the comprehensive list of the companies who registered under the free trade zone; including the claimed value of their investments. 

“We, therefore, wish to appeal to Mr. President, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR through the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to institute an inquiry into the operations of the FTZ with a view to auditing the number of companies registered under free trade zone, their business activities/model and their initial claim when registered and compare this with the data with the Nigerian Customs for the value of goods coming into the country through  the FTZ which is expected to serve as part of their KPI with the Ministry within a time frame as decided by Mr. President.

“Need for urgent intervention in the Steel Sector Steel sector plays a similar role as that of Cement, Sugar, fertilizer and Petrochemical industries, all of which can provide the needed tripod-support for the development of other light industries in the country. 

“Federal Government of Nigeria needs an all-inclusive review of the 43 items restricted from accessing FX in the official trade window as this will put further pressure on the official market with an indirect impact on the parallel market as well.

 “Federal Government needs to continue with the bold steps it has already taken in the liberalization of the FX market and the eventual subsidy removals on petroleum products, which in the long terms, if these suggestions are followed, with further attendant consultations, will yield a greater impact and turn around the country’s economy for the good of all.

“On the Nigerian Economy and the African Continental Free Trade Area:

The only way Nigeria can participate successfully in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and successfully compete among countries in the continent is to develop our giant industries. We can look at China, which always underwrites their capital projects under Sino_ (China Credit Insurance Corporation).

“The Federal Government should also borrow a leaf from other developed nations as well as some African countries by creating platforms for Credit Insurance Underwriters in order to reduce the huge risks involved in capital projects. Government also needs to create more funding windows and other support infrastructure to elicit rapid industrial development.

“There cannot be significant growth in the sector without the intervention by the Federal Government where and when necessary.  Government should be the driving force behind the steel industry, which has the capacity and potential to resolve part of our social unrest by getting thousands of unemployed youths off the streets through direct and indirect job opportunities”.