Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised the Federal Government to immediately reverse the lifting of foreign exchange ban on 43 restricted items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to avert looming job crisis, insecurity and economic contraction.
Vice Chairman of Basic Metal, Iron and Steel Products sector of MAN, Lekan Adewoye, gave the warning yesterday on a live programme. He maintained that the new policy would collapse several industries in no time.
The industrialist said: “The news came as a surprise to manufacturers, who are still struggling to stay in business. CBN did not ban the importation of these items in 2015, the apex bank only put a restriction on the importation of these items.
“For items that can be produced in Nigeria, such manufacturers ought to be encouraged. This directive will further kill the manufacturing industry that is already struggling to survive.
“The problem is about policy somersaults. Some of our members, who have outrightly invested in backward integration, will now start to regret this move because everyone, who can assess forex will claim to be an importer, forcing sincere manufacturers to close shop, thus increasing the number of jobless persons.
“Nigerian manufacturers don’t really have any competitive advantage over those in other developing countries, at best, what you have is competitive parity, because something has to be an advantage if your competitors don’t have it. And the little incentive that the government has provided, is now being removed by the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”