Over 200 manufacturing firms would have folded up by the end of the first quarter of 2016 but for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who recently allocated foreign exchange to these industries to bring in their raw materials.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, has revealed that the CBN has started allocating forex to manufacturers, though not exactly what the manufacturers hoped for, but grateful for the relief, saying it is better than none.
According to Dr. Jacobs, the association a few weeks ago had a meeting with the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, after experiencing challenges in getting some forex, and the CBN Governor promised at the meeting that he was going to make sure manufacturing firms’ requirements are met, although he said he cannot guarantee their requirements will be met 100 per cent.
The MAN President says it was the outcome of their public outcry that led the CBN Governor to have a meeting with him, where they discussed at length and the promise for succor was made to ensure that manufacturers’ requirements are met.
Be reminded that the CBN had in a bid to stabilize the exchange rate, in protection of foreign reserves, following oil price decline, excluded 41 products from access to the foreign exchange market (interbank foreign exchange market and Bureau de Change). This led to the inability of some manufacturing firms to sustain production due to lack of Forex to import raw materials.
Consequently, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, cried out three months ago that if the dollar scarcity persists, an estimated 200 of its members out of the 1,600 surviving companies would close down their operations by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
Dr. Jacobs says manufacturers are happy that at least CBN is sensitive to their needs now even though they are not able to give them 100 per cent access pending the time when the forex improves, and when the price of oil goes up and foreign reserve improves.
He further disclosed that in order to cut down on dependence on imported raw materials for production, MAN is in discussion with the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC.