The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group (MANEG) has disclosed that COVID-19, domestic policies of government, non-oil export incentives and exchange rate policy are currently affecting the prosperity of manufactured products’ export sector in the country. Also, the association added that many of its members in the export sector were yet to recover from the losses incurred due to the prolonged land border closure by government and the 2020 COVID- 19 lockdown.
The Group Chairman of MANEG, Chief Ene Dafinone, disclosed this to New Telegraph in Lagos, while speaking on MANEG’s activities. He said that since the pandemic and aftermath of land border reopening by government, exporters were practically struggling with reduced international demand, coupled with domestic challenges such as high and increasing exchange rate, high cost of energy, multiple levies and taxes, port congestion, unending gridlock, infrastructural deficiencies and smuggling. According to him, Nigerian exporters are still groaning over these negative impacts on export since last year and yet to overcome them. Dafinone said, for instance, the outbreak of the global pandemic had been adjudged to be the major contributor to the fall in the value of manufactured goods exported globally, including that of Nigeria, in 2020.
The renowned industrialist stated that according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the value of manufactured goods export fell by 3.1 per cent in fourth quarter 2020 compared to the value recorded in third quarter 2020 and 74.7 per cent compared to fourth quarter, 2019. Dafinone emphasised that in 2020, the value of manufactured exports was 53.7 per cent lower than the value recorded in 2019. While speaking on the impact of reopening the borders by government on export business, he pointed out that in the last one year since the ban was lifted, local exporters, whose goods were trapped at the borders for almost one year, were still evaluating the cost implications on their revenue profiles. Dafinone hinted that this loss was monumental in all ramifications on the prosperity of Nigeria’s manufactured product exports.
The MANEG’ Group chairman said: “For the exporters whose goods have been trapped at the border in 2020, it was a big relieved for them as it gave them the opportunity to be able to complete their contractual obligations. “Although, I am pretty sure that most, if not all, of such obligations were elapsed or had been cancelled. “However, in terms of future transactions, these affected companies will recognise an additional risk with cross border transactions as they factor in similar border closures in future transactions.
“Notwithstanding, this is already reducing the competitiveness of Nigerian products in West African regions and consequently afffecting our ability to have any competitive advantage as the Af- CFTA comes into play.” While assessing the eco-manomic losses of the border closure on export businesses, Dafinone said: “Manufacturing exporters have been affected to different degrees. “We must recognize here that some manufacturers do export their products by sea and by air (albeit at higher relative costs). A large number of exporters were however totally unable to engage in any export contracts during this period. “In this period, therefore, their market share have been shrunk over by products from countries and the possibility of regaining our share of these markets is uncertain.”