Mass unemployment looms as MAN, LCCI predict closure of factories over forex policy

By RICHARDS ADENIYI

THE Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) weekend expressed fears over the nation’s economy with the current foreign exchange (forex) policy and its impact on manufacturers and other businesses.
The President of Dr. Frank Udemba who spoke in Lagos said the forex policy will impact negatively on manufacturing sector because members are finding it difficult to source important raw materials.
He identified Crude Palm Oil (CPO) as one of its member’s raw materials included on the not valid list for forex, explaining that CPO is used for production of end products for noodles, biscuits and cosmetics.
Calling on the federal government to make forex available for manufacturers importing raw materials, he said the policy except reversed will threaten the existence of many companies.
Udemba said, “These companies have invested heavily in plants and machinery worth several billions of dollars in the country and what the CBN is indirectly telling them is that it could not be bothered with the challenges this policy is posing to our members,”.
Similarly, the Director General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, also said in Lagos that the forex policy will mean economic nightmare for the nation’s economy in the first quarter of the year.
Yusuf said the policy will lead to mass sack of workers as many factories will be closed down.
He called on the federal government to introduce quick palliative measures, such as fiscal and monetary policies for early economic in the first quarter.
According to him, it is time for the CBN to review its forex restriction placed on the 41 items, explaining that removing forex restriction on key commodities has a way contributing to the growth of the non-oil sector.
He said, “Our stance is that we want the CBN to lift the ban on foreign exchange now because government needs to do something urgently to convince Nigerians, private sector operators and manufacturers in the New Year. We believe that removal of the ban on forex and adjustment of the exchange rate will make substantial impact on our economic recovery next year.
“The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the business community are very concerned about the current state of the economy and the consequences of the CBN approach to the management of foreign exchange market over the last few months.
“We have previously engaged the CBN and other authorities through several fora (including dialogue sessions and memoranda) to draw attention to the implications of forex policies on businesses and the economy,”

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