Better days are ahead for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and other manufacturing companies as Ogun State Government says it is committed to building power infrastructure that will guarantee stable electricity supply across the State.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun unveiled the plan in his address as a special guest of honour at the 38th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ogun State Chapter held at the Conference Hotel, Abeokuta.
Represented by the Secretary to Ogun State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, Governor Abiodun said the government is taking full advantage of its opportunity as the State with the widest gas reticulation in Nigeria to address the menace of irregular power supply, saying when the issues of the high cost of petroleum and irregular power supply are adequately tackled, it will forestall the high rate of unemployment and insecurity.
Prince Abiodun said “We cannot pretend not to be aware that many manufacturing firms hitherto operating in Nigeria have folded up due to irregular power supply and the high cost of petroleum products, a situation that has resulted in high unemployment and insecurity.
“It was with that determination to change the narrative and redirect the economy for greater performance in the real sector that the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government summoned the courage to address the age-long conundrum in the upstream sector of our oil industry through the deregulation policy that led to the removal of subsidies”.
Speaking as the Guest Lecturer at the event, foremost Economist and Managing Director/CEO, Financial Derivatives Co Ltd, Mr. Bismarck Jemide Rewane, noted that the manufacturing sector has mostly underperformed in the overall economy in the last five years highlighting some of the reasons to include Covid 19 Pandemic, Russia-Ukraine War as well as forex scarcity.
Rewane said the nation is at a crossroads as the naira is undervalued at 32 percent but acknowledged that the new administration at the Federal Level has taken a bold step in implementing some key market reforms, reducing the level of market distortion in the economy among others.
In his welcome address, Chairman, MAN, Ogun State Chapter, Mr. George Onafowokan, noted that the immediate implementation of the dual policies of Naira devaluation and Subsidy removal without putting in place appropriate buffers for all sectors of the economy has caused inflation levels to skyrocket and has put immense strain on the manufacturing sector.
Onafowokan further stated that high power costs, interest on loans, post and custom-related issues as well as multiple taxes are banes to necessary growth of the sector, urging government at all levels to be committed to engendering policies that promote local sources of products and facilitate export.