Chief Sunny Jackson Udoh
The Federal Government has been advised to concentrate on assisting manufacturers of local goods to grow the economy and create employment for Nigerians.
A founding member of the Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief Sunny Jackson Udoh gave the advice at the just concluded Annual General Meeting (AGM) of MAN held recently in Calabar.
Udoh said without a robust private sector, the efforts of government to overhaul the economy and improve the living conditions of Nigerians would still be a mirage even with the enabling projections in the 2024 budgets.
“It is good to be optimistic about your budget forecast. However, we know the reality. We should be sincere to ourselves. We created monsters in the economy through unnecessary Monopoly and should deal with it sincerely by correcting the mistakes. For example, when you give some particular company concessions to the detriment of other companies producing similar goods locally, you are gradually grinding the economy to a halt” he said.
“Today dunlop is in Ghana, Eleganza owned by a co-industrialist and my friend Chief Okoya Thomas is not fully functional again, Aswani, Michelin and others have moved their shops to other places including Ghana.
‘Nigeria is left bare because the Government could not assist these companies with favorable economic policies to continue production. Foreign exchange (Forex) is given to company’s importing foreign goods to re-bagged in Nigeria whereas local manufacturers are forced to leave the country because of high cost, thus denying our people employment. Do not also forget that most of the raw materials are imported and with the fluctuating exchange rate these companies are placed in dire stress.”
Udoh who the chairman of Jackson Devos, Manufacturers of Crown Carpets expressed worries about government economic advisers disconnect with realities in the country, saying reviving the local manufacturing sector remains the best solution for improvement on the economy and creation of jobs.
“I believe government advisers should know what they are talking about and their emphasis should be placed on production as against the current consumption trend. When we do the right thing the Economy will improve, this right thing includes allowing other companies to breath fresh air. Like the cement sector when other manufactures are suffocated one company cannot feed Nigerians with cement at a reduced cost, we should leave room for proper competition. Some government policies and actions are detrimental to developing the economy and giving the desired opportunity to Small/Medium enterprises (SME).”
The elder statesman who was one of the founding leaders of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said, he is well positioned to assist the federal government revamp the economy as he had since relinquished his position as political leader of his community to younger persons.
“I am now concentrating on my business to help in growing the economy. Although, the environment Is not favorable because of Government Economic policies and neglect. I know other industrialist are facing similar situation” he said.