The comatose Nigerian economy and its dilapidating infrastructure have in recent times been compounded the problems of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) amid accusations of inconsistent fiscal and industrial policies in the last nine months.
These undue industrial policies are adversely affecting the nation’s manufacturers. This has made the Business Club Ikeja (BCI) and the Association of Indigenous Seafood Stakeholders of Nigeria (AISSN) to call for urgent stakeholders meetings with the Government to proffer solutions, stressing that revenues running into billions of Naira have been lost by their members in less than one year.
The group said manufactured products and other nutritional benefits for Nigerians was already being compromised by the raging CBN policies that have now resulted to high production of local products, scarcity of fish and other sea foods, while hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost on daily basis.
Speaking with newsmen on the challenges facing manufacturers in the country, the BCI President, Dr. Rotimi Oladele said manufacturers are facing lots of production challenges as cost of raw materials have skyrocketed as a result of forex and other infrastructural facility that support production.
“We call on the Federal Government to review the nation’s industrial policies to save manufacturing industries from going into extinction,” he said.
He, however, called for a national stakeholders’ conference to find lasting solutions to the industrial challenges in the country.
In the same vein, the National President of AISSN, Mr Lamina Rasheed urge President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently intervene in order to save the indigenous fishing industry from extinction by calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support the industry, adding that the allocation letters for annual importation of frozen fish for 2016 has become useless, as indigenous seafood stakeholders is unable to open a single FORM M because of the CBN’s regulations.
He said over 80 per cent of the cold room in the country has been closed down, while more than 80 per cent of staff in the fishing sector have lost their jobs. He added that whatever was left of fish and seafood in the country will vanish in less than three months from now.
“There is an impending serious crisis in the fishing sector in Nigeria that calls for urgent intervention of the Federal Government. There is the need for some quick palliatives in order to avert a security challenge in the food sector in the country,” he said.
Pointing out that the nation’s territorial waters cannot sustain the production of needed sea and frozen food due to several reasons; he said the inability of both manufacturers and importers to secure the required CBN’s approval has resulted in zero utilisation of allocated quota.
According to him, if these restrictions were not relaxed, the first and second quarter quota would also not be utilised.
“The resultants effects of these bottlenecks, he added, would be acute scarcity of fish,” he said.
He described as erroneous, the notion within certain government circles that the country have sufficient resources to locally produce fish in excess of national demand.
“It is clear that our poor masses of this nation are already feeling the pinch of fish scarcity, and this is already beginning to affect the credibility of this administration. We have already recommended about 500,000 metric tons of fish for the year 2016 to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,” Rasheed said.