- 60% Forex Allocation to Manufacturers Poorly Implemented
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has faulted the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive on 60 per cent forex allocation to manufacturers, describing it as very poor.
The President of the association, Dr. Frank Jacobs, stated this in Lagos on Thursday during the MAN Annual Media Luncheon.
MAN, Kwara and Kogi branch also on Thursday urged the Federal Government to boost industrialisation of Nigeria through good policies.
In August last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria had directed banks to allocate 60 per cent of their total forex purchases from all sources (interbank inclusive) to manufacturers and 40 per cent to other users for the purpose of trade and other obligations.
The move was aimed at ameliorating the forex challenges faced by manufacturers who needed to purchase critical raw materials for production processes.
But Jacobs said the 60 per cent allocation had not been forthcoming from the banks, resulting in manufacturers turning to the parallel market for dollars while others had shut down operations completely.
He said commercial banks had refused to comply with the directive on the basis of the fact that they were not getting dollar allocations from the CBN.
“The banks say that if the CBN has given them dollars and directed them to allocate 60 per cent to manufacturers, they will do that, but they will not allocate 60 per cent of the forex they have sourced independently.
“Most of our members have been buying dollars from the black market, making their products very expensive and less competitive than ever.”
According to him, the advocacy programmes of the association have achieved a lot in the past year, resulting in some of the friendly policies that the Federal Government had initiated in recent times to favour the manufacturing sector.
He added that the advocacy programmes would continue in 2017, noting that the association would keep advocating a review of some of the policies that were constituting challenges to the sector, such as the inclusion of critical raw materials in the CBN’s list of 41 items restricted from forex; development of Nigeria’s abundant natural resources for industrial input; enactment of relevant manufacturing capacity utilisation to meet local and export market demands as well as concessionary interest rate of five per cent for manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the branch, Alhaji Kamaldeem Yusuf, who spoke with journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, also stated that there would be no economic and national development without a strong indigenous manufacturing base.
He added that the Federal Government should give priority to indigenous manufacturers.
Yusuf, who is also Chief Executive Officer of KAM Industries
Nigeria Limited, warned that it would be detrimental to national development not to encourage industrialisation.
He warned against policy summersault, which could discourage investment in industrial sector.
He said, “When the government during the former administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan said it wanted Nigeria to be one of the most industrialised nations in the world, it made a law to increase capacity in cold rolling mill, by that time, there were only three players but before the end of this year, there would be about 10 players.
“Manufacturers borrowed heavily to do the project. Now, the government came up with ECOWAS tariff and crashed the duties of cold roll from 45 per cent to 15 per cent. They failed to protect the industry. It is now easier to import it than to manufacture it.
“What is the hope for all the industrialists that took loans and invested to make the policy real? Policy summersault is something that will not make Nigeria move forward. Government should consider the impact.”
He also urged the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce interest rates on loans to manufacturers.
According to him, banks should make loans accessible and at reasonable interest rates to genuine manufacturers.
He stated that one of the big mistakes that the present government was making was enriching financiers while manufacturers were being wrecked.
Econet Group and Mastercard To Collaborate on Fintech Solutions For Covid-19 Response in Africa
The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International (Cassava Fintech) and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.
TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognised as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa. Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform. Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.
The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security, that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.
Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.
Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind”.
“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.
Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.
Nestlé Health Science to Acquire Nuun
Nestlé Health Science and Nuun, a leader in functional hydration, have entered into an agreement in which Nestlé Health Science will acquire Nuun.
The acquisition complements Nestlé Health Science’s existing broad portfolio of active lifestyle nutrition brands with Nuun’s range of clean, low-sugar, effervescent tablets and powders.
“Every day, health-conscious consumers are becoming more aware of how functional hydration products can add to their overall well-being as well as support them during exercise by replacing the minerals that the body loses. That growing awareness is reflected in the steady growth of the category,” said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science. “Nuun is a leader in the fast-growing functional hydration category with its high-quality, clean, plant-based products. We look forward to combining our companies’ expertise to bring Nuun to more people around the world.”
Nuun was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2004, pioneering the separation of electrolyte replacement from carbohydrates. Its low-sugar electrolyte tablet revolutionized the sports beverage market. It now has a broad range of effervescent tablets and powders containing additional minerals and vitamins for energy, relaxation and overall well-being.
“Nestlé Health Science and Nuun share the same philosophy: nothing is more important than health and well-being,” said Kevin Rutherford, CEO of Nuun. “In joining Nestlé Health Science, Nuun will further its mission of ‘hydration that empowers the world to move more.’ The Nuun team has built an incredible business and now with the reach, expertise and capabilities of Nestlé, I’m confident that together we will grow, even more, making people and the planet healthier.”
The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021. Financial details are not being disclosed.
itel Partners Amatem and Drug-Aid Distributes Relief Materials In Fight Against Malaria
To commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day, itel recently partnered with Amatem Softgel, an anti-malaria drug in Nigeria, and Drug-Aid Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that provides medical drug supplies and support to low-income patients in Nigeria and across Africa.
A statement by itel explained that in tandem with the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, the three brands joined the global fight against malaria by donating treated mosquito nets, free medical tests, mosquito repellent cream and free anti-malaria drugs to over 1,500 households in Isale-Akoka Community, Bariga, Lagos state.
It explained that malaria is a prevalent disease in sub-Saharan Africa, and was responsible for thousands of deaths yearly, adding that as socially responsible organisations, itel, Amatem Softgel, and Drug-Aid Africa, “believe that they have a quota to contribute in ensuring a relatively healthier society.”
The Marketing Manager for West Africa and Nigeria, itel, Oke Umurhohwo, expressed commitment in bridging the gap in low-income communities through its ‘Love Always On CSR initiative.’
He added that the brand was partnering with Amatem Softgel and Drug Aid Africa to provide these communities, “with an even greater fighting chance against malaria is a part of our commitment to them.”
The General Manager, Elbe Pharma, Shivakumar, said: “Malaria is a life-threatening disease, but it is preventable and curable. We at Elbe continue to find a better way to combat this disease, support the vulnerable ones especially the young children. Hence, the introduction of this innovative anti-malaria brand AMATEM SOFTGEL and this CSR partnership.”
The Programme Officer, Drug-Aid Africa, Oluseyi Sanyaolu, said malaria has been ravaging the vulnerable in the society for years, saying, “it is the reasons why Drug-Aid Africa is dedicated to supporting those in indigent communities with medicines and medical supplies. Together, we can end this menace.”
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