The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has said the government should bring about effective intervention in key aspects of the economy and national institutions for the industry to achieve progress in 2021.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, the President of the association, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said for the country to experience economic recovery in 2021, concerted effort should be made to address the constraints of 2020.
Ajayi-Kadir said while Buhari’s New Year speech includes hope for the industry, there is a need for follow-up and zero tolerance for lack of performance of any one given responsibility to deliver on the New Year promises of the president to Nigerians.
He said, “Already, the 2021 Budget, tagged Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience, anticipates an exchange rate of N379 per US dollar, GDP growth projection of 3.0 percent and inflation closing at 11.95 percent. Yet, total revenue is expected to be N7.886 trillion and expenditure N13.08 trillion, leaving a deficit of N5.20 trillion. This budget deficit represents 3.64% of estimated GDP, and above the three prescribed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
“With this cheerless background, the government needs to aggressively pursue certain measures to bring the economy to the path of progress. They include: Government should accelerate its infrastructure development and power supply initiatives in order to boost the economy and allow businesses to grow. In this regard, the needed legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks to attract private capital should be enhanced.
“The high incidence of insecurity in the country is inimical to investment, price stability, production growth, mobility of goods and services and social wellbeing of the people. There is therefore the need to intensify efforts and make necessary strategic interventions to address the worrisome challenge.
“Improved business promotion and regulatory environment. Government should ensure that its institutions and agencies that are responsible for business promotion, facilitation and the regulation of business entities are supportive of their operations. They should not constitute an impediment to their smooth operation and growth. To this end, their activities should be strictly monitored, including feedback from the regulated operators. The role of the government agencies should be to support legitimate businesses, promote their compliance with standards and encourage them to achieve global best practice.
“Effective private sector stakeholder engagement and involvement in policy formulation and implementation, including the subnational governments would be needed to galvanise the national cohesion and resource-pull that is needed to take Nigeria out of the recession and put it on the path of growth in 2021
“The onset of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers a great opportunity in terms of access to the more than 1.2 billion people that make up the African market. Government, through the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA and the National Office for Trade Negotiation should be well coordinated to provide the right leadership and guidance for effective and profitable participation of Nigerian businesses in the continental market.
“There are certain statements in the address that give us hope. The national economic diversification, rebuilding national infrastructure, improved power supply, tackling insecurity, sustenance of the re-opening of the border and readiness to do business with our ECOWAS neighbours. However, what is critically needed is to follow up the broadcast with action and zero tolerance for lack of performance of any one given responsibility to deliver on the promises of Mr. President to Nigerians on the 1st day of the year. There should be implications for lack of performance!”
Ajayi-Kadir also said, “It is expected that, in order to ensure that we record a different outcome in 2021, concerted effort should be made to address the constraints of 2020, chief -among the challenges are infrastructure, including ports congestion, inadequate power supply and poor roads conditions, insecurity and ineffectual policies.”