By Chukwudi Ejimofor, Port Harcourt.
Governments at all levels in Nigeria has been urged to deemphasize on taxation to attract investment and allow local manufacturing business to grow, to create employment for the teaming unemployed Nigerians, curb restiveness and enhance the ugly state of insecurity in the country.
Engr. Mansur Ahmed, President Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) gave the admonition at the 35th Annual General Meeting/Public Lecture of Rivers/Bayelsa States Chapter of the association with the theme ”Redeeming Our Economic Potentials Through Manufacturing” held at Atrium Event Center Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
“we have intensified our efforts and engagements with heads of Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies on policies that impact on the real sector. Most recently, we had advised the government to jettison the idea of increasing VAT by 50% as recommended by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
We have clearly stated that such move will be counterproductive especially in the light of the still awaited minimum wage.
We have also had discussions with the Federal Inland Revenue Services with a view to addressing the numerous challenges in the tax system, and some results from that engagement is been felt in the business environment today. Some key reforms are underway as promised by the Chief Executive of the Tax Agency” he stared.
The MAN President called on the government to create enabling environment for manufacturing business to strive in the country
“They should try to make the environment easy for business through support and concessions and government should understand that regulations does not rely on revenue collection. They should support the industrial sector to stabilize. Because is only when industry grows and created jobs then government will collect taxes. It will be a win win situation for government and private sector, if we grow our industries.
The African free trade agreement, he opined will benefit Nigeria more than other countries because of our large population.
“Every producer of goods want to take it to the market, and the bigger the market, the greater the chances of making money. It is not so much money but how quickly you can grow your business. The trade agreement is a big opportunity to Nigeria. And Nigerian is bigger than other countries in Africa so its advantage on our side” exclaimed
Engr. Mansur gave kudus to the chapter for organising and presenting a befitting AGM to the surprise of the association.
“I must congratulate the chairman of Rivers/Bayelsa chapter he has presented a surprise, the turnout was excellent, the event was perfect.
The chapter is doing very well, they are working very closely with the government of both States, they engages all the ministries and agencies of government. If MAN don’t work with government agencies and private sectors we will not succeed. I will encouraged all out the branches to emulate this branch” he stated
He charged government and private sectors to invest in manufacturing business according to him manufacturing is the the heart beat of every country’s economy.
“There are tremendous opportunities now to manufacturers, and I charge all private individuals particularly the business men to invest in manufacturing for the future of our economy. Without manufacturing the economy will be fluctuating, through manufacturing the economy will remain strong and versatile, and government need to recognize this, by continued to encourage investors” he reiterated
Addressing Journalist at the event, Senator Adawari Michael Pepple, Chairman Manifactureres Association of Nigeria (MAN) Rivers/Bayelsa States Chapter said the chapter is liaising the Rivers State government to set up manufacturing cloister, and
built an incubator that will incubate manufacturing in the state, with the expectation that a space should allocated to them by the state government at the Greater Port Harcourt City.
“We are working closely with the Rivers State government, we have had executive brief with the Governor. Where we have highlighted what could be done to raise the economy of Port Harcourt and indeed Rivers state. One it is as a matter of urgency to set up a cloister where Manufacturers will be. And in that cloister they shall have incubators to be able to assist the upcoming businesses. The experiences we have learnt in our growth is to keep on to those that were incubating. The idea is that that cloisters, apart from providing the infrastructure, the government may not provide any fund. Because we are aware that African Development Bank is ready to fund such program adequately.
And our understanding is that because of electricity being the larger part of the difficulties the manufacturers are facing. We can draw up an understanding where by there could be an independent power source, we are not going to feed it into the national grid. Because the problem with Trans Amadi Gas Turbine there is it is producing a lot if energy which goes into national grid, and in national grid you have no control.
What we are proposing now is that we will have nothing to with the national grid, we generate our power with our cloisters. With that there is no way we can’t have at least 18 hour power supply.
Senator Pepple further requested for government at all levels in Nigeria to gave what he call tax holiday to investors. To allow their investment to grow, and be able the employ Nigerians, that he said will create more avenue for taxation.
“Another thing we are asking government to do is if there is any new business coming in, let them have tax holiday. It is not about tax tax tax, it should be about employment employment employment. The moment there is employment Taxes will be paid by even the employees. If there is no employment who are taxing?
We are soliciting also if there is any new company that is coming should be giving a tax holiday of not less than seven years, if it recovers it will be able to employ Rivers people and take poverty off from our state, take insecurity off our state.
The government should allocate the industrial area at the Greater Port Harcourt City, built road and leave the rest for us, apart from all that we won’t need the assistance of the state government rather the will benefit from it. The government should create enabling environment, and leave the rest for our association” Senator Pepple contended.
Highlight of the event was a lecture be Engr. Reginald Odiah, chairman Managing Director, Bennett Industries Limited.