How to end recession, by manufacturers

Frank Jacobs

Frank Jacobs

• Sack your economic team, Melaye tells Buhari

The Federal Government must reposition the manufacturing sector to rescue the nation’s distressed economy. Reacting to data on inflation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which put the rate at 17.1 per cent in July, president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Jacobs, said the development portends huge risk to the economy.

Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West), meanwhile, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack three members of his economic team.In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, Melaye said the President must shake up his cabinet, to give room for technocrats capable of reviving the moribund economy.He said most of the members of the cabinet are incompetent and lack capacity to deliver on the mandate of their ministries and agencies.

The members to be sacked, according to Melaye, are: Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.

“It is significantly responsible for the rolling contraction in Nigeria’s output since the first quarter of 2016 when the economy grew by -0.36 per cent and in the second quarter by -2.06 per cent. Over the period mentioned above, the cost of raw materials and manufacturing input had risen while capacity utilisation declined,” said Jacobs in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Jacobs said the current special foreign exchange window created by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for importation of industrial raw-materials and machinery should be well managed and transparently too.

“At this period that the economy has gone into full recession, government must address the real issues that led to the inflation and adopt economic policies that will mitigate the situation.

“For instance, in the short term, funds should be made available to the manufacturing sector at five per cent interest rate. Also, the 41 items of raw materials that were excluded from the foreign exchange market by the CBN should be reviewed, especially, now that the country operates a flexible foreign exchange regime.”

Senator Melaye said: “It is obvious that the time for barking is over. Now is the time to bite and boot out all those who have demonstrated, in the past several months, a crass lack of capacity to effectively carry out the functions of their office.

“The finance minister has not only displayed gross incompetence on the job, she also lacks the basic and rudimentary grasp of economic fundamentals necessary to run a critical sector of the Nigerian economy like the finance ministry. It is time for her to go and pave way for a qualified and experienced person.”

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