31 January 2019

Nigeria: Stable Forex Rate Aided Price Stability of Consumer Goods, Says MAN

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has said the ability of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to sustain intervention in the real sector as well as maintain a stable foreign exchange (forex) rate has positively impacted the prices of locally produced goods.

According to the local manufacturers, weekly intervention in the foreign exchange market as well as access to forex for raw materials importation aided the stability of consumer goods' prices, and tamed inflation.

Indeed, the consumer price index, (CPI), which measures inflation increased by 11.44 percent (year-on-year) in December 2018, or 0.16 percent higher than the rate recorded in November 2018 (11.28) percent.

Similarly, increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index, especially in the prices of domestic services.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, yesterday, MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, said the decision of CBN to keep the monetary policy (MPR) rate for a longer period is to check rising inflation, and to prevent a situation where illiquidity leads to fluctuating forex rate.

He however noted that local manufacturers will continue to advocate policies that will improve access to cheap sources of finance, to ensure that locally produced goods remained affordable.

On the agenda for his administration, Ahmed said: "We shall be giving greater attention to measures that will substantially improve the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the current paltry 9.5%.

"We hope to appreciably increase the capacity utilisation of member-companies by promoting policy consistency in a manner that the gains already made are not pulled back while ensuring the revival of sectors that are currently struggling."

He also emphasised the need to promote a more inclusive economy among all categories of companies in the membership of MAN through the establishment of structured and mutually beneficial linkages between the large corporation groups, and small & medium Industries.

He also targets to expand the scope of strategic partnership with relevant organisations within Nigeria, West Africa, Africa, and outside the rest of the world.

On the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), Ahmed noted that MAN's report on the agreement will be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari next month.

"MAN being a proactive organisation that strongly believes in evidence-based advocacy, commissioned a sector-specific study on AfCFTA. We have shared the study, full report and fact sheets on the highlights of findings with the Presidential Committee on AfCFTA.

"We are confident that the eventual position of Nigeria on the AfCFTA Framework Agreement would be well-articulated in a fresh National Negotiation Mandate. This is in the best interest of the manufacturing sector and indeed the Nigerian economy, while paying utmost attention to emerging issues on AfCFTA, and ensure that the industrial aspiration of the country is not compromised on the platter of free trade," he added.

Nigeria

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