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MAN says Banks not complying with CBN on forex.

Banks are not co-operating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on
forex policy, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) President Dr.
Frank Udemba Jacobs has said.

Dr Jacobs said the CBN was sensitive to the plight of the
manufacturing sector, but it was unfortunate the apex bank’s good
intention were being frustrated by those who didn’t share the same
passion for manufacturers, in particular, or the nation.

He cited the CBN’s directive to banks to allocate 60 per cent of
available forex to manufacturers for the importation of raw materials
and spare parts, which the banks had not implemented.

He told The Nation that the CBN also released about $414
million  recently, with provisions for another $500 million for
allocation to manufacturing and other critical sectors, but regretted
that banks were not co-operating, thereby frustrating a critical policy.

Jacobs debunked the allegation that the CBN ‘settled the
manufacturing sector with $330 million, saying the CBN announced the
release of $314 million but he did not know who benefitted from it.

Acknowledging that manufacturing was the worst hit by forex scarcity,
Jacobs said the case of those included in the list of items excluded
from the inter-bank forex was more worrisome.

But manufacturers and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had argued
that the CBN should not have excluded  the 41 items as some  things in
the list were actually raw materials and input for industries.

On the embedded power supply proposed  by manufacturers  to save their businesses, he said the project was ongoing as planned.

“We have made remarkable progress in this direction by receiving bids
from power companies, and have carried out tariff evaluation following
the opening of the bids from which we have shortlisted three companies
that we’ve adjudged to be competent. We have also selected four clusters
for the pilot project. They are Henry Carr Street, Isolo, Amuwo Odofin
and Ilupeju. As I said, these are tentative arrangements which have not
been finalised. It must be said that we have not started actual
operations yet.”

On the implication of the planned relocation of a major tomato paste
manufacturer, Erisco Foods Nig. Limited to China and some other African
countries, the MAN boss said the issue of closure and planned relocation
was for the company alone to decide.

He said the decision of the company to shut its operations in Nigeria
would have serious implication for the economy in terms of further job
losses at a time that the unemployment rate was soaring.

He said the planned closure would send wrong signals to potential
investors, adding that the action would lead to loss of revenue.

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