By Charles Nwaoguji
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Federal government to introduce fiscal measures such as waivers on import duties on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), and other essential products since it has gone ahead lockdown the nation economy.
According to its President, Engr Mansur Ahmed, other areas that need to be considered are ; extend tax holiday to companies on corporate tax, and waive the Value Added Tax (VAT); and reduce the burden of personal income tax as a way of increasing the disposable income of an average Nigerian worker.
Ahmed, who disclosed this in a chart with Newsmen, recently, said government should ensure reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs. i.e. gas, electricity supply, fuel and other essential infrastructure needs.
He stated that the financial support offered by CBN be extended to the supply of Forex to the manufacturing sector at pre-COVID-19 rates;
He said that the CBN should consider directing commercial banks to freeze interest charges in the event of a lock down;
“Government should ensure that all regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration & Control (NAFDAC) should treat all requests from Manufacturers expeditiously and with the required sensitivity to the prevailing situation,” he stated.
He said that government should ensure its agencies do not act contrary to its directive of permitting essential manufacturing sectors to operate.
“It should also take into consideration the inclusion of the logistics and distribution arm of manufacturing to make possible delivery of manufactured items to the final consumers,” he added.
He explained that by this way, the COVID-19 pandemic would affect the manufacturing sector so much and the common man in the street.
On our part, in a bid to address the potential impact of the virus on the Nigerian economy, he said MAN has advised members to ensure they sensitize and educate their workers on compliance with National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines; and provide requisite facilities and supplies for the prevention of COVID-19 in line with extant guidelines of the NCDC.
Given the fundamental role manufacturers will be playing at a time like this, he noted manufacturers have been encouraged to sustain ongoing operations to avoid reduction or shut down of production activities; and scale up their production especially of essential commodities such pharmaceuticals, consumables, sanitary and hygiene products needed to curtail the spread of the virus (COVID-19).
“As manufacturers adhere to safety rules and keeping the economy running, it is expedient that Government provide safety nets for these group of its public to ensure seamless operations,” he said.
It could recalled that since the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30, 2020 declared the outbreak of Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Since then, it becomes imperative for stringent actions to be taken by the World and indeed, Nigeria to help its citizens adjust and cope with the pandemic.
Nigeria recorded its first case on February 25,2020 which was further confirmed on the 27th. It is also comforting to note that the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are not resting on their oars through drafting of the different protocols for safety disseminated to the general public all in a bid to ensure the safety of citizens.