Independence: Address overregulation, forex constraints to ease manufacturing – Stakeholders tell FG

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As Nigeria celebrates 61 years of nationhood,  some manufacturing stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to tackle overregulation, irregularities in ports and foreign exchange constraints, to improve the economy.

Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said on Friday that 95 per cent of manufacturers believed that overregulation by government agencies had depressing effects on manufacturing.

Ajayi-Kadir spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“Manufacturers suffer multiple regulation on a single manufacturing process occasioned by the agencies of the federal, state and local governments.

“The Federal Government has in its possession the Steve Orasanye Commission Report on Harmonisation of Government Agencies; it is important to commence full implementation of the content of the report backed with proper monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

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He also said that the government should review charges at the ports in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

He added that there was the need to ensure that only legal charges were paid on cargo clearance.

He called for encouragement banks to build more capacities,  through designated desks, to ensure seamless and timely processing of foreign exchange applications by manufacturers.

“Direct intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria governor to ensure that MAN members access the funds, particularly the one trillion naira  COVID-19 Stimulus Package, is important.

“Manufacturers must be updated with the current feasibility of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund  and N300 billion Real Sector Support Facility and how they can be accessed,” he said.

Commenting, Chief John Udeagbala, President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, said that Nigeria’s economic growth since independence remained positive with the potential to match the most developed economies.

He, however, said that after two economic recessions and a global pandemic within the last decade, the Nigerian economy was faced with high inflation and unemployment rates, as well as low growth rate.

He added that the economy was facing local and foreign debts and a depreciating currency while still largely being import-dependent.

Udeagbala advised governments to leverage the ingenuity and innovation of the private sector while creating a conducive environment for them to operate.

“The Executive Order 7 on road infrastructure development and refurbishment investment tax, NERC regulation for mini-grids and the policy on modular refineries in Nigeria are examples of policies that can leverage on the spending power of the private sector and provide the much-needed infrastructure to boost the productive capacity of the economy.

“If priority is placed on effective implementation of these policies without bureaucratic bottlenecks, and a conducive environment is created for the private sector to engage in production and trade, it is my firm belief that the Nigerian economy will return to the path of sustained economic growth.

“This is especially within the context of the right mix of fiscal and monetary policies that do not counteract each other,” he said.

On judiciary, Mr. Bayo Akinlade, the National Convener of the Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACIJ), said Nigeria had done well in terms of making laws that would impact well on the citizens.

He, however, said that the laws were adopted from different traditions that did not resonate with a lot of traditional beliefs of the people.

“This has been one of the things that we have been struggling with in Nigeria for the past 61 years.

“We should get to the point where Nigeria makes laws for its own people to reflect our cultures and traditions.

“Once we do that, it will impact positively on the administration of justice in the country.

“We had a justice system before colonial rule but since independence, we have jettisoned many of our traditional justice system and we adopted justice system from Britain and the United States,” he said.

According to Akinlade, at 61 years, Nigeria is still young compared with other nations, but with technology the nation’s age should not be a setback.

He said there was the need for Nigeria’s leaders to be more selfless.

He also called for decentralisation of the nation’s judiciary.

“States need to have more independence to recruit judges according to how they can afford their remuneration.

“We need to decentralise the administration of justice and we need to have state governments do more in this regard,” the FIACJ convener said.

A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr Ademola Adewale, called for  investment in the digitalisation of the justice system.

Adewale said that the justice system was slow because it was  being run manually.

“Justice delivery system particularly in civil matters is too technical and procedure-driven which greatly slows down the system.

“There is also the need to constantly improve on the human capital by training personnel at every level of administration of justice,” he said.

He identified tardiness as a major setback to the judiciary.

“No case best illustrates tardiness of the system than the trial of Orji Uzor Kalu.

“It took about 12 years to try and convict him. The conviction has since been set aside.

“Even the attempt to try him afresh has suffered a big setback,” Adewale said.

On social media, the National President of Telecommunications Subscribers, Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, appealed for unconditional lifting of the ban on microblogging giant, Twitter, by the Federal Government.

Ogunbanjo made the appeal in Lagos on Friday while reacting to Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari.

NAN reports that, during the broadcast, Buhari announced conditional lifting of ban on Twitter.

Ogunbanjo said that unconditional lifting of the ban would serve as Nigeria’s independence anniversary gift.

” Government should lift the ban and lift it totally for all to use.

“We want it used for information dissemination and interaction.

“They can always guide and monitor against hate speeches but let it be free for users to communicate and get information from other parts of the world,” Ogunbanjo said.

The Federal Government suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, to guard against fake news, hate speech and other negative effects.

Buhari said in the broadcast that following the suspension, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government for possible resolution of the issue.

“Subsequently, I constituted a presidential committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving issues.

“The committee, along with its technical team, has engaged with Twitter and addressed a number of key issues.

“These are national security and cohesion; registration, physical presence and representation; fair taxation; dispute resolution and local content.

“Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements,’’ he said.

The president said that Nigeria was committed to ensuring that digital companies would use their platforms to impact positively the lives of citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty and cultural values and promote online safety. (NAN)

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