Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State, has pledged that his administration will collaborate with manufacturers in the state in order to create more job opportunities for youths.
Represented by the Deputy Governor of the State, Mr. Kayode Alabi, the governor spoke at the 5th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
At the top of the agenda discused is menace caused by smuggling into the country of various products which are produced by local industries, sabotaging efforts of the producers.
Dr. Kamorudeen Yusuf, the Chairman of MAN, Kwara/Kogi Chapter, said the stimulation of local production of various products have generated millions of direct employment of Nigerians and attracted huge investment from new as well as the existing plants in Nigeria.
In his address, Dr. Yusuf, who is also the Group Managing Director/CEO of KAM Industries Nigeria Limited, feared the impact of association is undermined by smuggling.
Smuggling killing local production — MAN
He said, “but of much concern and of national importance is the unfortunate development in the upsurge in the importation via smuggling of our products.”
He cited instances of products smuggled like Galvanised Roofing Sheets, Automotive Batter, furniture, cigarettes, adding that “unfortunate and unpatriotic activities of the economic saboteurs have done a huge damage and devastating effect on the manufacturers with the negative consequences on our investment.”
MAN noted that despite all the efforts by the Nigerian investors in various sectors of the economy to ensure full achievement of the Federal Government objectives of economy recovery, employment generation, youth empowerment and improved human capital development, the market has continually recorded free flow of smuggled substandard products which are dumped by some countries through their cronies in the country, which is antithetical to industrial development and aspiration of Nigerian people.
Yusuf pleaded for government intervention to savage the ugly situation to curb the negative effect as it may trickle down to citizens as well.
He continues, “the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) consider this as a dangerous trend that requires urgent intervention of the government.”
Yusuf also mentioned policy failure as another challenge faced by the association, “which have over the years threatened the survival of industries and by implication impeded the realization of their full potentials.”
Other Challenges confronting MAN
Another challenge mitigating against MAN is the difficulty in obtaining certificate of occupancy (C of O) from the Kwara/Kogi State government; lack of state industry park for industrialists in both states; non-availability of infrastructures like electricity, water, good transport network, telecom and; high and double taxes and levies on industries and their workers.
Dr. Yusuf also said non-membership of MAN on the boards of relevant agencies, citing instances of State Environmental Protection Agency, the State Internal Revenue Service, the State Water Corporation.
“It is proper for MAN to be on these boards because it is statutorily provided in the laws creating these agencies.”
The industry boss also said that admitting MAN as members on th these boards is necessary for manufacturers to join forces with both government and lend their voice to developmental strides in the state’s.
Achievements of Nigerian manufacturers
Speaking on the association’s achievements, Dr. Yusuf who double as the Chairman of Basic Steel, Iron and Galvanised, said local manufacturers has garnered over $3billion in the country.
“We have equally considered that the fact the Steel Industry is currently challenged, particularly the galvanised sub-sector of the industry, which despite the challenges, has witnessed some levels of investors confidence as demonstrated in the huge investment of over 3$billion made in galvanizing plants as well as in Mega Steel Rolling Mills in Nigeria in recent times.”