The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), a key member of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), has disclosed that Federal Government’s monetary policy, continued border closure, high duty rates and other challenges are leading to massive loss for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) involved in export of made-in-Nigeria products. The association said the negative impact of the economic challenges havd also affected the country’s manufacturing export sector by 75 per cent, a development that is currently threatening the country’s export of made-in- Nigeria products.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Eke Ubiji, in a chat with New Telegraph, disclosed that local manufacturing firms/ SMEs had suffered losses in their export operations following scarcity of forex, border closure and other challenges nationwide. He said that many of them could not export goods already earmarked for that purpose because of volatility in exchange rate of naira to dollar.
Ubiji said that affected SMEs that are NASME members had besieged the association’s secretariats in Lagos to complain that they were currently facing difficulties in securing forex at the official inter bank rate. According to him, the forex crisis, coupled with other challenges, have brought about uncertainty in the export market, adding that some operators complained that they were in court with some banks over defaults in loan repayments and debt servicing, thereby exposing their properties and investments to possible sell-off by the banks.
“Yes, a lot of our members in the export segment of the Nigerian non-oil export sector are facing a lot of challenges now in the country because of the daunting economy we are experiencing currently.
“Let me give you an example, some of them in the pharmaceutical industry, if they import raw materials, they are expected to pay 20 per cent or above as duty rates at the ports before they are allowed to clear their consignments. But if they import ceiling drugs, it’s duty free.
So the major problem has been forex. “And when you talk about packaging problem, this is also as a result of the increased in a lot of things going on in the economy now. He added: “I can tell you outright, yes, forex is a big problem for those of them who need foreign exchange in the export of their products abroad, because they can’t get it easily in the banks at the official rate at the moment,” On packaging challenges, the NASME executive secretary said: “Do you know what it is involved to package products? For those of them who have challenges in that area, it has not been easily for them. “Even the materials they need to package their produce, if there is any foreign input in it there is a problem.
“In fact, everything that has to do with export now is expensive. The impacts of these economic challenges in the country’s SMEs export market sector is about 70-75 per cents. “And our members have lost a huge amount of money running into a half trillion naira. And it is even discouraging for them now to go into export of goods at the moment.”