The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has blamed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for the increase in foreign products in the country.
Mr Innocent Umoh, Vice President, MAN Group for Toiletries and Soaps, told newsmen in Lagos that the trend had impacted negatively on local industries.
Umoh said that the association’s investigations had revealed that most of the foreign products in the Nigerian market were legally registered by NAFDAC.
He alleged that the situation was because of NAFDAC’s inability to determine which goods to register as it was not carrying other stakeholders along in its activities.
“ We are surprised at the sudden influx of many foreign goods into the Nigerian market.
“ Our investigation revealed that most of those products are not smuggled but legally registered by NAFDAC,’’ he said.
According to him, the development negates the Federal Government’s resolve to encourage local production.
“ Efforts to change Nigerians’ penchant for foreign products cannot be achieved with the high level of foreign products in the Nigerian market,’’ he said,
Umoh said that the development had resulted in low capacity utilisation and high inventories within the local industry.
He added that if not checked, it could result to more retrenchment and the closure of more factories.
According to Umoh, NAFDAC indulges in registering the foreign products because of the huge revenue this brings to the Agency and the Federal Government.
According to him, NAFDAC indulges such products because of the huge revenue the registration brings to both the agency and the Federal Government.
“ We learnt that the agency generates huge revenue from the exercise and it should not be done to the detriment of the economy.
“A situation where we have to register every product or brand ,all in the name of realising more revenue, drains the meagre resources of the local operator,’’ he said.
Umoh urged the Federal Government to properly implement the ban on the importation of detergent and soap to protect the local industries.
“ The government should properly monitor the security agencies manning the border posts to reduce the influx of products on the prohibited list,’’ he said.
He urged the three ties of governments to streamline taxes because the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) were the worst hit.
Umoh also urged the Federal Government to reduce tariff on imported raw materials to aid the productivity of local industries.
Meanwhile, NAFDAC’s Deputy Director, Public Relations, Abubakar Jimoh has said that the allegations of MAN were incorrect.
Jimoh said NAFDAC would not deliberately register a foreign product that would impact negatively on the local industry.
He said that NAFDAC was only carrying out its statutory duty in the registration of products that were beneficial to the people and not necessarily to make more money for the government.
More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining
As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth.
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.
Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project -Akawor
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them.
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.
PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations
Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations.
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.
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