MAN advises CBN to sustain new forex directive
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday advised CBN to sustain its current directive on forex sales to rebound output by manufacturers.
The President of MAN, Mr Frank Jacobs, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the advice became necessary because the directive would help in strengthening the naira for production purposes.
According to him, the policy will, in the long run, make machinery and other items more affordable for manufacturers, which in turn will lead to cheaper goods.
“The policy has raised the confidence of manufacturers because it will boost productive output.
“It is pleasing that manufacturers and people who are in business can afford to get dollars easily which will drive down the price of foreign currencies often caused by speculators.
“The new initiative is commendable and it our hope it will not be sabotaged,” he said.
On Feb. 21, the CBN directed all banks to open outlets for sale of forex at all airports to ease forex purchases.
The directive has gradually strengthened the naira, making it exchange at N495 to the dollar on Feb. 23 from the N520 it sold on Feb. 20 at the parallel market.
Jacobs said also that since the apex bank had addressed the forex challenges, it should also compel banks to lend to manufacturers at reduced interest rate.
According to him, the reduction should be exclusive for the manufacturing sector as it is done in other climes.
“Reducing the interest rate to five percent from the current 14 percent will boost production and generate employment in the sector.
“The reduction will revolutionise the sector and reposition the industry to contribute more to the nation’s GDP.
It will be recalled that the CBN in September and October 2016, supported critical sectors, including the aviation sector with $660million and $867 million, respectively through the Special Secondary Market Intervention Retail Sales.
The intervention was to enable manufacturers and those in aviation to purchase industrial raw materials and spare parts needed for operations.