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Covid-19: MAN seeks forex assistance for manufacturers

Published by The Nation on Fri, 27 Mar 2020

Chikodi OkereochaAS part of Federal Governments efforts to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 on the economy, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to supply foreign exchange (forex) to the manufacturing sector at pre-Covid-19 rates.The Association also said the apex bank should consider directing commercial banks to freeze interest charges in the event of a lock down, adding that in the case of an eventual lockdown, government should consider the introduction of fiscal measures such as waivers on import duties on active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and other essential products.Making this known in a statement on its position on the Covid-19 pandemic signed by its President, Engr. Mansur Ahmed, MAN also wanted government to extend tax holiday to companies on corporate tax, 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.MAN also urged government to ensure that all regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organisations of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) treat all requests from its members expeditiously and with the required sensitivity to the prevailing situation.Read Also:IMN demands El-Zakzakys releaseGovernment should prevail on all relevant Agencies to strictly comply with the provisions of Executive Orders 001, 003 and 005; it 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, while ensuring reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs. i.e. gas, electricity supply, fuel and other essential infrastructure needs, the statement said.Ahmed noted that as the voice of manufacturers interest in Nigeria, the Association recognizes the efforts of government from the point 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) is not resting on its oars through drafting of the different protocols for safety disseminated to the general public all in a bid to ensure the safety of citizens, Ahmed said.The MAN president said on its part, in a bid to address the potential impact of the virus on the Nigerian economy, MAN has advised members to ensure they sensitize and educate their workers on compliance with NCDC guidelines, and provide requisite facilities and supplies for the prevention of COVID-19 in line with extant guidelines of the NCDC.
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