By Jonah Nwokpoku
Manufacturers have called on the Federal Government to strengthen the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN policy on foreign exchange in order to support the growth of the manufacturing sector.
Deputy Managing Director, Tempo Pulp & Packaging Limited, Nassos Sidirofagis, a Greece national who runs a manufacturing firm in Nigeria, told newsmen at a recent press briefing on ‘the CBN policy and impact on the manufacturing sector,’ that the policy has begun to yield impressive dividends as local patronage has increased significantly leading to improved production capacity of up to 70 per cent.
He said: “The recent CBN policy was something that manufacturers were already waiting for.
Foreign products patronage
Because of that policy which is encouraging local production, Nigerians are beginning to patronise locally manufactured products thereby creating jobs instead of the foreign products patronage which takes the jobs away from the economy.
It was a game changer because as a Nigerian company, we are also competing globally and locally. But this policy has helped us increase our production capacity by up to 70 per cent. This is significant because it will help us to increase export which will increase the rate of foreign exchange flow.”
He added: “In this global economy that we live now, there is only one medicine. You have to have discipline in spending at the government level, you have to help very much the manufacturing sector and you also have to have policies that contribute to job creation.
If Nigeria can keep this policy for one or two years more and be very strong with this policy, you will see that many investors will be coming to Nigeria to invest. This is because; Nigeria will now be seen as a place that can support manufacturing”
Speaking further, he said: “Being from, Greece, I understand that the problems that we had there were basically problems that many other countries have.
“The solution is to open up the market, focus on manufacturing and local production.”
Greece was like Nigeria, importing almost everything because it had plenty of money but at the end of the day we got bankrupt. And this is just because we didn’t have strong manufacturing, supported by the government and only focused on importation. I can tell you that in Greece now, the government is focused so much on manufacturing and supporting the sector because that is the only way to create jobs.”
On his part, Managing Director, Sren Chemicals Limited, Oluwaseun Taiwo-Tijani, said: “Since the implementation of the policy, the demand rate for our products has increased dramatically.
This is because; most of the companies that now patronise us were not able to import the products again. Before now, most companies still imported nylon bags, which we manufacture locally here, but because of this policy, they had to resort to local manufacturers.
This shows that this policy is capable of making Nigeria export dependent. As manufacturers, we are happy with the policy. Nigeria should manufacture not less than 70 per cent of what it consume.”