Chairman, Toiletries & Cosmetics Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ikpong Umoh has described the statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics showing that Nigeria has exited recession following a 0.55% growth in GDP as a propaganda.
Speaking recently in an interview, Umoh, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Stellarchem Nigeria Limited said the claim is at variance with the economic realities on ground in the country.
“If the economy is out of recession, why are the people still in depression? Why are the prices of food items sky-rocketing to the extent that you can see hopelessness and frustration on the faces of the masses?”
Umoh argued that the statistics from the NBS should not be depended on because they appear deceitful and must be critically examined.
“The assertion from NBS does not reflect the economic realities on ground in any way, rather it is at variance with the state of the economy. Over 226 manufacturing companies closed shop due to the recession. How many of such industries have been revamped?
He said the reality on ground is that recession is worsening by the day. “You can see why the figures from the NBS are at variance with the economic realities on ground. In fact, about 4.85million jobs were lost within the same period.”
According to Umoh, Poverty and hunger remain high in rural areas, remote communities and among female-headed households, cutting across the six geo-political zones, with prevalence ranging from approximately 46.9percent in the South-West to 74.3percent in North-West and North-East.
Although, he applauded government effort for introducing the Executive Order, he however said the initiative missed the focus on SMEs, as it concentrates 90% on the convenience of foreign investors.
“For our economy to recover fast and in a sustainable way, we need an Executive Order that will take a cue from the World Bank Group to favour local SMEs 100 per cent.”
He said Toiletries and cosmetics companies in Nigeria have the capacity to produce sufficient finished cosmetics products for local consumption and for export, as they did in the 90s. But we need government protection by prohibiting importation of cosmetic products into Nigeria, notwithstanding the bilateral agreements it may have entered into.