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S’East manufacturers converge on Onitsha, brainstorm on alliance with govt for massive production

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By Chuks Eke

It was a home coming for all industrialists in the Southeast geopolitical zone as they converged on the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra state to brainstorm on how to partner with both the federal government and Southeast governors to boost local production of goods and services in the country.

Among the notable industrialists that attended the one-day ceremony tagged: “Southeast Manufacturers Stakeholders Forum included Chikason Group, markets leaders, Pokobroe Group, Ibeto Group and representatives of each of the five Eastern states.

High point of the event included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding,, MoU between Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Southeast, MANSA and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN

Addressing the participants at MAN lLiaison Office in Onitsha, venue of the event, Lady Ada Chukwudozie, Chairman of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, South-East chapter, urged federal and state governments to provide investment incentives for manufacturers to enhance production and boost economy.

Lady Chukwudozie noted that such incentives would ensure ease of doing business for manufacturers as well as help them easily access funds and raw materials to enhance their productivity.

At the event with a theme: ‘Access to finance and cheaper funding for SMEs in Nigeria’ which also had several notable players in the manufacturing sector in attendance, Lady Chukwudozie therefore urged the Federal Government to subsidise cost of raw materials for manufacturers and proffer solutions to their challenges, especially electricity.

She said, “There is the need for governments at all levels to empower manufacturers as this would enhance the country’s economic growth. It will also ensure stability of the Naira.

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“Nigerians need hope. Having listened to all the speakers at the forum, especially the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Charles Odii, I am lifted in the spirit and I am very hopeful that there is hope for Nigeria. It is always difficult to start good things but with time, it will take its roots and become very fruitful.

“They have signed several MoU’s with Anambra and Enugu state governments to dole out N1bn to support businesses with a view to expand their capital base but that is just a pilot scheme.

“The money will be given to organised private sector trying to formalise the informal sectors to register with either the chambers of commerce, trade and investment or register with MAN to be able to access the funds.”

She also commended the Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo for providing one million seedlings to different households instead of giving them cash.

“So, instead of the governor giving out cash to people, he gave out one million seedlings to each household. These seedlings are economic crops, automatically, those households have been economically empowered for life.

“Therefore, manufacturers should as well receive incentives from the government so that they would produce more goods and if they produce more, they create wealth, jobs and the economy would be abundant and influence the Naira to appreciate against the dollar.”

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She further urged Nigerians to prioritise agriculture and grow a garden of food crops rather than flowers.

In his speech, the Anambra State Commissioner for Industry, Christian Udehchukwu said the state government had made funds available to support small and medium scale enterprises.

Udehchukwu noted that the major aim of the forum was for manufacturers to know where and how to access these funds.

He called on both the manufacturers and traders to live by example and follow the footsteps as the state government is committed to building access roads to enhance their establishments.

Earlier in the keynote address, the DG, SMEDAN, Charles Odii, said they intend to partner with MAN on their “one product, one local government initiative” where each local government will be trained on at least “one product” manufacturing.

He assured that the agency will roll out interventions to aid access to finance.

On her part, the former Director of Compliance, Head of ATG MANSA Digital Initiative of Afreximbank, Mrs. Maureen Mba said that the objective of MANSA platform is to facilitate smooth boarding of customers and business relationship, to reduce operational workload and cost of compliance, to enable African financial institutions to cooperate and SMEs to meet customers and business partners’ expectations while ensuring regulatory compliance, to ensure consistency and effectiveness of compliance process amongst other.

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