Lagos — Acting Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Apapa branch , Mr. Joe Onyebu, has said many businesses were going through very difficult times, following a drop in power supply in recent months.
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It is estimated that over 40 percent of cost of manufacturing in Nigeria goes into generation of electricity.
Speaking at the Environmental and Safety seminar organised by the association in Lagos, Onyebu said Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, appeared to be the worst hit by the epileptic power supply, leading to closure of many.
He explained that once an SME shuts down, it sets up a ripple effects, which do not only mean that jobs are lost, but creditors, including banks and private individuals, also share in the loss as getting back their money becomes an impossible task.
He stated that the high cost of running manufacturing plants on generators was one of the reasons most local industries have failed to be competitive and profitable as going concerns.
"Importation of substandard goods, smuggling and high cost of electricity have all combined to wreak havoc on Nigerian manufacturers," he said.
Commenting on the deplorable state of roads in Lagos State, Onyebu urged the government to pay attention to roads within Amuwo-Odofin Industrial Axis, Mile 2- Coconut Road, Mile 2-Kirikiri road and Coconut to Liverpool road.
He stated that this, coupled with the near-complete takeover of the roads by tankers/trailers, has made access to the ports and members' factories near impossible.
Lamenting the negative effect of multiple demand by regulatory agencies, he said that the increment by over 150 percent of the environmental development levy and petroleum storage permit payable to Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, has affected manufacturers.
He, therefore, urged the government to harmonize all taxes and levies payable to governments to make thing easier for the real sector. He also implored the government to re-engineer its policies and programmes towards rapid industrialization instead of the current over-dependence on importation of goods.
Director, Lagos Liaison of National Environment Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, Ayuba Jacob, said in his comment at the event that there had been cases of poorly produced foods and drinks in an unhygienic environment that found their way into the markets, leading to all kinds of diseases and sometimes death, especially among children.
He said protection of the environment was an issue the government has accorded higher priority in recent years .
He stated that the facilities in the food and beverage sector should channel their resources towards activities that would not compromise the integrity of the environment for the present and future generation.