To ensure that the Nigerian economy does not cave in under the potential impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic due to a lack of necessary commodities, the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the Federal Government to provide members with safety nets for seamless operations.
In a position paper by its President, Mr. Mansur Ahmed, MAN urged members to not only sustain operations to avoid reduction or shutdown of production activities but also scale up production, especially of essential commodities such pharmaceuticals, consumables, sanitary and hygiene products needed to curtail the spread of the virus (COVID-19).
To make this possible, however, the association said it was expedient for government to provide safety nets for seamless operations, including ensuring “reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs, such as gas, electricity supply, fuel and other essential infrastructure needs.”
Others include extending the financial support by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the supply of forex to the manufacturing sector at pre-COVID-19 rates, while the CBN directs commercial banks to freeze interest charges in the event of a lockdown.
It further requested government to introduce, in the event of a lockdown, such fiscal measures as waivers on import duties on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), and other essential products.
Government should also extend tax holiday to companies on corporate tax, waive Value Added Tax (VAT), and reduce personal income tax as a way of increasing the disposable income of an average Nigerian worker, it added.
MAN further urged government to “ensure that all regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organisations of Nigeria (SON), and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration & Control (NAFDAC) treat all requests from manufacturers expeditiously and with the required sensitivity to the prevailing situation.
It should also consider including the logistics and distribution arm of manufacturing to ensure the delivery of manufactured items to the final consumers.