FG Mandates MAN To Prepare For Fourth Industrial Revolution

*while MAN ask government to scale-up its plan for the energy sector to reduce cost

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has been mandated by the federal government to get ready for a fourth industrialisation revolution that will accompany the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) recently signed by the federal government.

The Manufacturers were given the mandate at the fifth edition of the Nigeria manufacturing and equipment expo and sixth edition of the Nigeria Raw Material Expo currently holding in Lagos.
In his address to the Manufacturers at the expo, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, stated that with the trend of technological development going on in various sectors of the economy, and around the world, Nigeria and its business community is living in exciting time .

According to him, Nigeria is standing on the brink of the fourth technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way her people live, work and relate to one another .
He added that the emergence of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, an agreement that will change the positioning of the Nigerian market and the way trade is carried out in Africa is already staring on the faces of Manufacturers coupled with diverse technological changes coming with the revolution.

“The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity and access to knowledge are unlimited and these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles3-D printing, and so forth. Already, artificial intelligence is all around us from self driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that automatically translate languages”, he noted.

The Vice President, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Industry , Trade and Investment , Chief Niyi Adebayo, noted that the signing of AFCFTA by federal government presented a great opportunities for the manufacturing sector adding that they now have opportunity to extend their reach across Africa where they were already exporting commodities such as fast- moving consumer goods, cement and even FinTech.

“This is crucial because we are also the target market for all Africa.Thus we also have to devise strategies to mitigate the risk of dumping. The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has been a strategic partner and participant in the on going negotiations and implementation task force.It now has a redefine and challenge itself to partner with the public sector to ensure we reap the immense benefits that await our economy and our people in these changing times”, he stated.

He said on its part, government is gearing up to take maximum advantage of these changes but observed that there are enormous challenges.

He listed these challenges as rapid population growth which he puts at three percent per annum, increase in number of youthful job seekers, and challenge of meeting domestic food requirement.
He however said government knew what must be done and had already embarked on initiatives to address these.

In his welcome address, MAN president, Engr Mansur Ahmed, explained that NIRAM Expo was aimed at creating a platform where stakeholders in the raw materials supply chain would come together to synergise, display and trade in available resources and raw materials with the users of their products.

He said with this in mind, the association, intends to close the information gaps and encourage local sourcing of available raw materials by manufacturing industries which is in line with government’s backward integration programme.

He said the choice of the theme of the 2020 EXPO “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Nigerian Manufacturing sector”, was informed by the observed global trends and current development experienced in some developing nations, which have used industrialisation as a growth tool to drive and transform their economy as well as improve their standards of living.

He said ahead of the implementation of the AfCFTA which will open our manufacturing sector to a much larger market, Nigeria manufacturers have to adopt the use of new technology to compete favourably with other nations that will be participating in the free trade market.

He however said one critical challenge before manufacturers in this regard is inadequate energy supply for industrial use.

“As manufacturers we cannot achieve competiveness with the current state of our electricity supply. It is thus, expedient that government scale-up its plan for the energy sector to reduce cost, improve processes, maximise value addition and generate employment. There is also the need to increase skills and labour productivity and encourage more women into the manufacturing field in this regard. The nation’s current energy projection and currently generated supply is below the expected level required to drive an industrialised economy”, Ahmed said.

Improved Infrastructure Is Key To Realising Benefits Of AfCFTA – MAN

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has urged the federal government to make them industry-friendly by getting its policies right.

MAN had stated that the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade is a clement enviroment and this can attract needed investment.

MAN President, Mr Mansur Ahmed, while speaking at the 2020 edition of the MAN reporter of the year award recently in Lagos urged the government to show readiness in addressing the supply side constraints of lack of infrastructure, to enjoy the gains of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Mansur, said policies and regulations should be lenient for businesses and seen as a way of assisting them to grow, to enhance competitiveness and boost the economy.

He said that competitiveness, without the provision of infrastructure such as good road networks and electricity, not only within African countries but also across the borders cannot be achieved.

“As the association remains at the forefront for setting the pace for engagement with other African manufacturers, the Nigerian government must also lead by example in ensuring that policies are industry-friendly, as this is the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade.

“Modern industry competitiveness depends to a great extent on provision of adequate and efficient infrastructure.

“There is also the aspect of provision of soft infrastructure – like visa, tariffs, and foreign exchange – that will help ease up the process of carrying out business transactions between countries,’’ he said.

According to him, transportation is vital to enhancing competitiveness in trade.

“For instance, due to poor infrastructure, it will cost a business owner in Nigeria more to transport goods from Lagos to Kano than it will cost a Chinese business owner to transport the same goods from China to Lagos.

“We must address all these issues since the AfCFTA is not just about trade in goods, but also trade in services,” he said.

The MAN President said that electricity was a vital input for any manufacturing process, as it constitutes up to 40 per cent of the cost of production.

He explained that increasing the tariff of this core input would have drastic negative effect on the Gross National Product (GNP), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), disposable income, consumption, employment, among other economic factors.

According to him, the uneven pricing of this commodity across distribution companies (DisCos), if not corrected, will lead to uneven development in certain parts of the country as the percentage increase in tariff differs.

“A reduction in electricity tariff for industrial purpose is more ideal, but even if it cannot be reduced, it should not be increased.

“Any increase on the tariff will reinforce the already high- cost manufacturing environment and further depress productivity in the sector.

“Our appeal is that government, being a major stakeholder in the electricity industry, should concentrate on developing processes and polices to attract significant investment.

“This will encourage large scale generation and significant improvement in transmission and distribution.

“It is also important for government to ensure adequate and appropriate consultations with stakeholders in the private sector on such decisions with far-reaching implications,” he said.

The MAN President also disclosed that he had been confirmed substantive Chairman of the Pan African Manufacturers Association (PAMA).

The PAMA is the umbrella body of manufacturers in Africa.

It is aimed at bringing African manufacturers together to jointly engage governments of the African continent to create a conducive and enabling environment for local businesses to thrive.

Osun State Government, Firstbank Partner on Mining Sector

The Osun State Government is partnering with FirstBank Nigeria Plc. to develop the mining sector of the state, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank Nigeria Plc, Mr Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan, has pledged that the bank will support and partner Osun in Mining in order to create more employment opportunities and to help diversify the economy of the State.

Adeduntan made this known at a meeting between the First Bank of Nigeria team and the governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, at the Governor’s Office in Osogbo on Thursday. Firstbank is one of the leading banks in Nigeria and making banking easier with Firstbank Transfer Code and internet banking apps.

The Bank CEO expressed the bank’s gratitude to the Governor and the state for the conducive business environment the First Bank has enjoyed over the years. He said one of the secrets of the bank’s strength is its policy of not being a financial institution that is just about profitability but one that helps the nation bake a bigger cake.

“We have noticed the increased activities of Osun in mining, the awareness created during the Summit the state had last year and we are willing to help the government realize its goals in the sector. We promise to support and partner with Osun in Mining because that is one sector that will help create more employment opportunities and diversify the economy of the State “

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola in his response expressed his appreciation to First Bank for its readiness to partner with the state in Mining.

“I truly appreciate the support of First Bank of Nigeria over the years and today’s visit by the Managing Director of this reputable bank. It is also heartwarming that First Bank is ready to support Osun’s mining sector.

“I assure you that Osun is ready and determined to explore and move its mining sector from artisanal into the realm of corporate investment. Fortunately, we have received very encouraging responses from within and outside Nigeria. The state is blessed with billion-dollar worth of mineral deposits and this administration is working round the clock the convert them into palpable and usable resources to improve both the economy of the State and the standard of living of the citizens. We have all the required documents to excite local international investors and we will work with them to realize our dream of an enviable mining sector in Osun.” Oyetola said.

Challenges That Weigh Down Manufacturing Activities in Q3 2019

The  Manufacturers Chief Executive Officers, Confidence Index (MCCI) released by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) shows that much has been achieved in the supply of forex to the manufacturing sector for the import of raw materials, and other manufacturing inputs, that cannot currently be sourced in the country.

Most Nigerian manufacturers can only source forex from the parallel market at very high exchange rate, which makes their products less competitive compared with the imported ones owing to high import bills for raw-materials and machinery.

The MCCI index also show that despite efforts by government to encourage productivity in the country, deposit money banks are still lending to the sector at double digit interest rates.

Manufacturing activities in Nigeria

The manufacturers underscored the need for the country’s apex bank to review guidelines of the various development funds to ensure that the terms and conditions are good enough to attract borrowing from the local industrial sector.

“It is therefore imperative that the Association sustains the advocacy for policy measures that will lower the cost of borrowing to increase productivity and competitiveness of the sector while partnering the Federal Government to interrogate the performance of the various single digit interest rate funding windows available for the real sector of the economy.” The release revealed.

Multiple taxes and levies also constitute major setback for the manufacturers who agreed that these levies depress production in the sector.

Manufacturing company in Nigeria

According to the release, “Record shows that manufacturers pay over 30 different taxes, levies and fees to Agencies of the Federal, State and Local Governments on account of increased revenue target, consequently, there is the need to streamline the observed multiplicity of taxes and ensure that only approved taxes/levies/fees are charged.”

The MCCI is an index created by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to measure the economy on quarterly basis.

MCCI deploys a set of Diffusion Factors including; Current Business Condition, Business Condition for the next three months, Current Employment Condition, Rate of Employment, Employment Condition for the next three months and Production Level for the next three months, to measure  quarterly perception and confidence of manufacturers in the economy.

Garment factory in Nigeria

In addition to the set of Diffusion factors form which information is generated, the index also measures general macroeconomic ambience in terms of Foreign Exchange, Lending Rate, Credit to the manufacturing sector, government Capital Expenditure and business operating environment issues such as Over-regulation, Multiple taxes/levies, Access to sea ports, Local raw-material sourcing, as well as Government’s patronage of Nigerian manufactured goods and Inventory.

Border Closure: Customs urges Nigerians to patronize locally-made goods

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) has urged Nigerians to patronize locally-made goods in order to boost Nigerian economy. The Customs boss stated this in Lagos during the Annual Agricultural Summit organized by Nigeria Association of Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ).
The Annual Agricultural Summit was themed: Bridging the Investment Gap in Agricultural through Information. Ali, who was represented by Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of Enforcement at Tin Can, Dera Nnadi, said that there is no need for the country to import what it can produce.
“Since 2015, this government has been making deliberate efforts to encourage local production of rice and other items. The border closure is just an addition to encourage our farmers. It is not Nigerian Customs that is saying it; it is the people that are benefitting from the good policies of government,” he said.
On the same vein, Acting Director General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr Chima Igwe called for transformation of Agricultural sector in Nigeria.
Igwe said the transformation of the sector is needed to serve as agent of economic recovery and growth.
“In the past few years, Nigeria and Nigerians experienced a sudden and significant drop in economic activities which led to the loss of the purchasing power of our currency, the Naira. Although Nigeria has been able to exit the recession, the strangling effects might still be seen lingering with the possibilities of a relapse if the nation does not diversify.
“Upgrading and improving the agro-allied production and production processes, mining and other relevant manufacturing sectors, upgrading and improving the existing traditional and local technologies, making new discoveries and innovations through research and products and services development in all sectors of the economy,” Dr Chima said.
The Chairman of Elephant Group, Mr Tunji Owoeye added that the border closure has been opening doors of opportunities to Nigerian farmers.
But the Commissioner of Agriculture in Lagos, Prince Gbolahan Lawal appealed to Nigerians to key into the Agricultural revolution of federal government so that more jobs can be created. Meanwhile, Agricultural journalists later recognized the outstanding personalities that have contributed to Agricultural development in the country.
NACCIMA Names Trade Group Chair

Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has appointed Ade Adefeko as chairman of its agricultural trade group.
A statement by the association said that he would be in charge of formulating strategies that would be inculcated in the country’s agriculture sector and the agribusiness ecosystem in reviving the agricultural landscape in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole for the next one year.
In appointing him as chairman of the group, NACCIMA believes that his wealth of experience as vice-president corporate and government relations at Olam International Nigeria would help transform the association’s core interest and explore other opportunities in the agriculture sector.
BUHARI’s External Loan Request, Our Concerns, By MAN

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), had made there stand over the President Buhari’s request for Senate approval for $29.96 billion loan facilities, stating that it is not a bad idea because of the stated purposes. The concern of every stakeholder is the judicious utilization of the fund.
The Director General(DG)of MAN -Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir who made this known in Lagos noted in a statement that the projects which President Muhammadu Buhari said the fund would be used to execute would address some of the challenges of the manufacturing sector and indeed the economy, especially infrastructure.
He also made it clear that he understood why the Senate and some other stakeholders are uncomfortable with the loan request.
Ajay-Kadri however said there are reasons to endorse the president’s proposal.

According to him:”A possible consolation remains that this loan is not programmed to fund consumption, but likely to improve our productivity”. This, he stressed, would however depend on the facility’s “strategic allocation, the governance of project execution and monitoring and management of its foreseen impact on subsisting government inflows and financial commitments”.
The MAN DG believed that the rejection of the proposed loan request by the Senate was because the President didn’t provide the required details, which included actalisation of projects in the power, agriculture, transport and mining sectors of the Nigerian economy. He insisted that the loan would be beneficial to the country if the right things are done.
According to him: “On the face of it and in my opinion, the 39 emergency projects in the Power, Agriculture, Transport & Mining sectors of the Nigerian economy alluded to by Mr. President should redress some of our infrastructure and sectoral performance/linkage deficits. To this extent, the projects are needful and their successful completion would boost the productive capacity of the Nigerian economy”.
Nonetheless, the MAN DG also have some reservations. In his word: “However, the rising debt profile of Nigeria continues to be a cause for concern, especially the capacity of Government to effectively service it and,at the same time, meet the bursting needs and aspiration of the citizenry going forward. Already, our budget projections for 2020 anticipates a debt service sum of ₦2.45trillion, an amount higher than the ₦2.14 trillion earmarked for capital expenditure”.

He added: “Also, our total external debt stands at $27.16 billion, while Domestic debt has climbed to $56.72 billion. Nigeria’s debt stock increased by 3.11% from $81.27 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019 to $83.88 billion (N25.70 trillion) at the end of June 2019. This is almost 13% increase year-on-year from the $73.21 billion at the end of June 2018. And even though our debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, which currently stands at 28 per cent, is still below the average in Africa, our revenue-to-GDP ratio remains low”.
FG Partners State Gov To End Illegal Mining

In a concerted effort to increase revenue generation in the Minerals and Metals Sector, the Federal Government is partnering with State Governments to curb illegal mining of solid minerals across the country.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to Enugu State Governor, His Excellency, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved 13% derivation on solid minerals mining as in the oil sector, as such there should be collaboration between the Federal and State Governments in order to close up all leakages to be able to derive better revenue generation in the sector.

Ogah noted that if the abundance of minerals in the country, including coal which is found in great quantity in Enugu,  are properly harnessed, it would help achieve the Federal Government’s effort towards diversifying the economy.

He said that mechanism is being put in place towards tracking and monitoring minerals exploited, as well as revenues collected are accounted for and paid into the right government account.

He therefore called for cooperation of the governors, saying that doing this would fast track the growth of the economy, create employment and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to him, government is working on a policy that would curb activities of illegal mining in the country. The policy would ensure the monitoring and tagging of minerals mined and their movement. This would assist in curbing illegal mining, and to boost the drive of creating employment and lifting Nigerians out of poverty, he said.

In his remarks, the Governor assured of the state’s willingness to partner with the Ministry in the effort to generate revenue through minerals mining.

He disclosed that Enugu with its abundance of coal, has not witnessed any meaningful mining activity for years; adding that the people would be happy to see the state return to the days when Enugu was truly the Coal City.

NACCIMA Urges SMEs To Utilise Opportunities Provided By NEG To Enhance Business

Hajiya Saratu Iya-aliyu, National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has urged newly inducted members into the NACCIMA Export Group (NEG), to leverage on the opportunities made available by the group to enhance their competiveness in the international market.
Iya-aliyu made this known in a speech presented during the induction of new members and annual general meeting of NEG with theme: “Export Challenges in an Emerging Economy – Nigeria Peculiarities And Survival”, at Ikeja, Lagos recently.
While commending the courage of the new members’ decision to join the coveted register of NEG, she said , “we are glad that new members chose to become a registered member of NEG, please be rest assured that you have made the right decision to become a member of one of the vibrant groups in NACCIMA”.
Also, while commemding the efforts of Barrister Kola Awe, Chairman, NEG and his executives as they pilot the affairs of the group, Iya-aliyu reminded the new members that the main objective of NEG is quite clear; to strategise on the best networks by which exporters can take full advantage of the opportunities available in this country, while also advocating for a conducive environment for these opportunities.
Some of the benefits they stand to get she said include partnership with the federal government through NACCIMA, the organisation of seminars and workshops for members to benefit, organisation of and participation at trade fairs locally and internationally, the dissemination of information to members etc.
Similarly, Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, Director-general, NACCIMA, who represented Iya-aliyu at the event, in his good will message to the new members, tasked them to endeavour to conform to international standards to enhance their product’s chances of competing in the world market.
Olukanni said, “ for us to take advantage of the huge market out there, we have to learn, we have to have the capacity, that is why I think this programme is indeed very,   very good”.
Earlier in his welcome address, Awe made it clear to members that, “ no matter how much we can do by ourselves on the national level, weather it is research or development, it will never be enough. It is the spirit of true cooperation joined with an action-oriented effort that can solve the problems that beset export development in Nigeria and Africa as a whole”.
Presentations were also made by resource persons from organisations like Cargo Defence Fund Shippers Council; Barcode G1; NIRSAL Bank; FCMB Bank and Zenith Bank, where they explained to NEG members on different ways they could access funds facilities in running their businesses.
FG Advocates For Stakeholders Engagement In Mining Sector

The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, said for the mineral and metal sector to significantly contribute to the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP), the ministry must continually engage the stakeholders.

He made this known in his keynote address  at the closing session of the 3rd Meeting of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD) in Ado- Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.

The theme of the three-day council meeting which took place from 6th-8th November, 2019 is: “Nigeria Minerals and Metal Sector: Spectrum for Investment Opportunities for Economic Growth and Development.

Adegbite said many well intentioned policies and programmes initiated in the past could not make much impact due to lack of broad based buy-in and support from critical stakeholders.

He informed the participants at the meeting that the Ministry has made it a priority to engage all stakeholders at the various stages of implementation of the mining roadmap initiated by his predecessor and the current Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

The Minister said that the Ministry has engaged major stakeholders to ensure the formalization of the Artisanal Miners into cooperative groups for easier management access to financial support and commodity markets. He added that the ASM formalization policy of the government is an instrument of poverty alleviation, empowerment and job creation.

The Minister disclosed that the Ministry has so far identified a total number of 1,759 Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) sites across the country while 1,346 Artisanal Mining operators have been drawn into forming registered Artisanal Mining cooperatives to enable them access Small-scale Mining License.

The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in his opening address stressed the need for stakeholders engagements to guide against unsafe mining practices and to support artisanal miners to better organise themselves into cooperatives.

He said there was need for continuous advocacy for diversification of the economy, adding that there were economic opportunities in mining and mineral resources development if properly harnessed.

Fayemi noted that the efforts in the mining sector had brought critical leverage as mineral resources and environmental management committees had been resuscitated in more than 30 states of the federation, including Ekiti State.

The governor who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) said the country’s mining sector enjoyed the good will of development partners. This, he said, resulted in the approval of $150. million for Mining Diversification Program through the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) office.

Fayemi, however, stressed the need for increase funding for the sector because of its capital intensive nature, adding that this would attract more investors into it and give them confidence that government was not lagging behind.

He challenged the council to proffer ways of engaging mining stakeholders to ensure they contribute their quota towards the growth of the sector as he expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference would receive the support of all stakeholders.

The governor tasked the council to device strategies and policies that would ensure that the sector contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Discussions at the meeting focused on strategies for sustainable mining and value addition, addressing security challenges in the sector and how to foster synergy among the three tiers of government, among others.

The meeting had in attendance commissioners and permanent secretaries in charge of mining and mineral resources from the 36 states of the federation, academia, private sector, security agencies, leaders of mining unions and other stakeholders.

The Honourable Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah in his closing remarks, said the renewed vigour of the Ministry is impacting positively on the mining and metal sector.

Ogah commended the interest and political will of President Muhammadu Buhari to move the sector forward in line with his administration’s commitment to diversification of the economy using the mining and metal sector.