By Industrial Digest
“GIVEN the fundamental role manufacturers will be playing at a time like this, they 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).”
Engr Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said in a position paper on Manufacturing and COVID-19 Pandemic, made available to Industrial Digest Online News, today.
The MAN president commended the efforts of the federal government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the stringent actions they have taken to contain the spread of the disease across the country, since Nigeria recorded its first case on February 25, 2020 which was further confirmed on the 27th.
“As the voice of manufacturers’ interest in Nigeria, 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 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,” he said.
He emphasizes that the Association advises safety in all lines of operation, adding “manufacturers have been urged to make it a point of duty to assure their employees, vendors, customers and all relevant stakeholders of best health practices.”
Demands for regular supply of industrial gas
He said that as manufacturers adhere to safety rules and keeping the economy running, it is expedient that Government provide safety nets for these groups of its public to ensure seamless operations. MAN, therefore, suggests the following: “
- Government should ensure reasonable access to industrial supplies and inputs. i.e. gas, electricity supply, fuel and other essential infrastructure needs;
- The financial support offered by CBN be extended to the supply of Forex to the manufacturing sector at pre-COVID-19 rates;
- The CBN should consider directing commercial banks to freeze interest charges in the event of a lock down;
In case of complete lockdown
- 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; 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;
- 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;
- Government should prevail on all relevant Agencies to strictly comply with the provisions of Executive Orders 001, 003 and 005;
- Government should ensure its agencies do not act contrary to its directive of permitting essential manufacturing sectors to operate; and
- 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.”