Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS), has said that the current scarcity of foreign exchange is effecting their businesses negatively.
Mr. Okechukwu Williams, the President of LEPMAAS told Sunday Telegraph that the situation is currently affecting their businesses from production to quality of finished products.
“The issue of forex is affecting our businesses adversely. Definite cost of raw materials have been on the increase while there is no commensurate increase own prices. “The situation is reducing the profitability of our business. Definitely it’s telling on us the manufacturers.
The situation has led the importers to always increase the prices of imported materials used for shoes, bags and other leather products. “We the manufacturers find it difficult to increase ours because the customers will find it hard to buy.
The rise in dollars and its general scarcity has increased the cost of production and the ordinary producer in various clusters in Aba cannot increase his price because of competitiveness,” he said.
Williams said that the scarcity of foreign exchange which led to rise in prices of raw materials used for the production of shoes, bags and other finished leather products has also affected the quality of their products. He said: “It has also affected the quality of products, because we have to look for alternative cheaper materials to remain in business which will eventually affect the final output.
“When we’re talking about made in Aba, we’re focused on upgrading our quality, but situations like this is not helping. “So, this rise in price which is linked to scarcity of foreign exchange is affecting our finished goods to enable us make at least small profit.” He urged the government to try and create an enabling environment that will help woo investors to come into the country and invest in the area of producing raw materials for leather products.
“LEPMAAS has been advocating this to the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC). We’ve talked about this.
“The demand for the basic materials like fibre, the nora and the ornaments are on the high side and we cannot begin to depend on importation of all these materials over these years we’ve been in production.
“So, government should be able to create an enabling environment for investors to come in and invest on the production of some of these raw materials.
“It’s high time we did the right thing. Some companies have come in here to try one or two things, but a whole lot of things frustrated them and they left,” he said.