Inconsistency in government policies and lack of protection for local industries have been identified as major set backs affecting industrial growth in the country.
An industrialist, Chief Romanus Ikenna made the observation in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt during the week.
Chief Ikenna who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rona Industries Limited listed other challenges facing the sector to include high interest rates by the banks, power crisis and the high cost of fuel which, he said, have led to sharp rise in the cost of production.
Taking a glimpse at the high rate of job losses in the country particularly the textile industry Chief Ikenna said, such rate of unemployment was due to failure by government to provide enabling environment for business to thrive, noting that in the last 10 years not less than 900 textile firms have closed down and thousands of jobs lost in the process.
He explained that the sector is adversely affected by inconsistency in government policies as well as lack of protection for local industries, saying “we demand the swift intervention of the federal government on the revival fund of textile industry that has thrown thousand of Nigerians into the labout market in the last 10 years. The situation is such that the high cost of production in Nigeria has made Nigerian textile products less competitive and as a result most of the industries have closed down and relocated to neigbouring countries”, he said.
Addressing top government functionaries, policy makers and industrialists from across the country recently in Lagos, it would be recalled that the president of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji Bashir Borodo, disclosed that between 2000 and 2008 about 820 manufacturing companies had closed down or temporarily suspended production and urged the federal government to take pragmatic steps to save the sector from imminent total collapse.
He attributed this development to tough operating environment which is characterised by unstable power, high interest and exchanging rates, smuggling, multiple taxation and levies.
DAPPMAN Raises Concern Over FG’s New Tax Regime
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has expressed concern over the new 0.5 per cent tax on gross turnover of the petroleum marketing firms proposed by the Federal Government.
Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, said at the maiden edition of the Platforms Africa Continental Forum in Lagos, that the tax would put many firms out of business.
Adewole said there were indications that fuel distribution crisis may soon hit the country, if the government implemented the new tax regime.
He was emphatic that more than half of the fuel marketing firms in Nigeria would close down, if the tax burden was slammed on them.
According to him, the imminent closure of businesses poses threat to the smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.
“The petroleum marketing firms’ trading margin is too small that they cannot pay such amount sustainably.
“Petroleum marketers operate a very low margin but the turnover is very huge. Unfortunately the margin does not correspond with the turnover,” said Adewole.
He added that the margins they made when fuel sold at N40 per litre was the same when the price rose to N160 per litre and N200 per litre respectively.
According to him, “The Finance Act 2020 says the marketers have to pay 0.5 per cent from their gross turnover by the end of this year.
“It is unimaginable that probably half of the petroleum marketing firms existing now may go under, if the new tax regime is implemented.
“Except the regulator which is Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) approves a new margin for the marketers.”
He said the association had called on government to give petroleum marketers access to foreign exchange at the official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate to enhance the supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the nation this yuletide season.
According to DAPPMAN, shortage of foreign exchange (forex) coupled with several unauthorised levies, bad roads are among the factors making fuel importation and distribution burdensome for members.
The Tide source reports that the fuel marketers recently bemoaned the acute scarcity of forex in the official market, which is currently threatening the importation, distribution and impacting deeply on prices of petroleum products across the country.
Niger Wants NNPCL To Establish Truck Transit Parks
Niger State Government has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) to establish truck transit parks in some strategic parts of the state to reduce traffic on highways.
The government identified towns such as Tafa, Suleja, Mokwa, Bida, Tegina, Lambata and Minna as major areas to be given attention in that regard.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources in Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Idris, made the call during the meeting of National Council on Hydrocarbons organised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in collaboration with the State Government.
According to him, the establishment of the parks in the identified areas will reduce traffic on highways and generate revenue for the state and country at large.
In the meeting entitled: “Roadmap and Strategic Option towards achieving energy transition in Nigeria”, Idris presented a memorandum from the State Government to the council on the need for the establishment of the transit parks.
He explained that it would also create a partnership between the state and federal government to reduce the negative effects of heavy road traffic on highways.
He explained further that the trucking industry was indispensable to the Nigerian economy as “truckers are responsible for delivering fuel from depots to filling stations where they are dispensed.
“For these reasons, funds need to be released to build truck parks for ease of operations”, he said.
He also called for the establishment of a frontier basin development commission with its headquarters in Niger State.
According to him, the establishment of the commission will expedite the effective implementation of Petroleum Host Community Trust Fund and frontier basin exploration fund as captured in the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 with headquarters in Niger.
He said Nigeria’s frontier basins consist of Anambra basin, the lower, middle and upper Benue trough, the South eastern sector of the Chad basin, the Mid-Niger (Bida) basin and Sokoto basin.
According to him, the basins would be better positioned for the opportunities in the hydrocarbons natural gas, oil and other minerals.
He noted that the establishment of frontier basin development commission would offer greater opportunities to actualise the state dream of oil and gas economic value-chain and industrialisation in Nigerian frontier basins.
Motorists Groan Over Fuel Scarcity
Long queues resurfaced in Lagos as motorists spent hours at filling stations to buy Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
The situation was worse on Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Ikeja, Anthony, Bariga, Ilupeju and Gbagada areas as motorists were agitated for spending hours on queues.
The Tide source reports that the development left commuters stranded with gridlocks in major areas of Lagos as motorists queued to buy the product.
The source also reports that only filling stations owned by Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) had petrol and sell at the regulated price of N170 per litre.
Some stations owned by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) sell between N200 and N210 respectively.
A motorist, who identified himself as Mr Foluso Saliu, told the source that he had been on the queue since 6.30 a.m. hoping to get fuel and return to work.
He said government should find a lasting solution to petrol supply in Lagos to avoid panic-buying.
“Scarcity has been frequent during the ember months and l hope it will be addressed,” he said.
Another motorist, Mr Julius Albert, urged filling stations to avoid selling petrol in jerry cans to allow vehicles to buy on time.
Albert appealed to the government to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry if that was the solution to availability of petrol without stress.
According to him, the product seems to be available in some filling stations but they choose to hoard it and sell at higher prices.
Queues were seen at Mobil, NNPC, Conoil, Oando and Nipco filling stations on Ikorodu Road.
Also, queues were cited at TotalEnergies, TMAAC on Bank Anthony Road and Conoil, opposite LASUTH.
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