Home Business & Economy AMEN urges FG to review forex allocation policy

AMEN urges FG to review forex allocation policy

Following the continued rise of dollar against the naira, Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN) has called on the federal government to consider placing embargos on products that could be manufactured in Nigeria, while lifting ban on some of the items in order to boost the nation’s economy.
This is even as the association maintained that the policy is presently bringing in inflation into the economy while businesses are shutting down and unemployment of the increase.
Some of the items AMEN urged federal government to permanently ban includes soap, cream, toothpick amongst others.
The association equally urged the President Mohammadu Buhari’s led administration to review most of its economic policies; form a formidable economic team that would work towards growing the economy and not impoverish the masses, stressing that job creation cannot be possible when the local industries are not working.
Speaking on behalf of the association, its National President, Comrade Prince Saviour Iche lamented the unavailability of foreign exchange for importers, saying the development is negatively affecting the businesses of local manufactures at the same time increasing the rate of unemployment in the country.
According to him, Nigerian entrepreneurs are in dare need of rapid response from the government in order to arrest the situation before it goes out of hand, maintaining that the current development reveals the urgency needed for the federal government to review the ban of the 41 item, while placing ban on items that can be conveniently produced in Nigeria.
“As the result of the present development in the economy, our products has also increased, the policy is also bringing inflation, the chemicals we were buying for N3,000 is now sold for 4, 000. The option most of us are considering is cutting down our workforce because there is no money to pay salaries. For the suppliers of our raw materials, the next option for them is to shut down, if they shut down, the economy will dwindle. There is fire on the mountain but nobody seems to be running. We are in a very big mess right now. Am calling on the government of the day to review most of these policies they have adopted and see how it is affecting the poor masses. They promised us that they are going to create jobs and I ask, how would you create jobs when the industries are not working? You cannot create jobs when the local industries are not working,” he said.
Speaking further, the AMEN President stated that placing lasting ban on products like soap, cream and tooth pick would expand the business of local manufactures while creating more jobs for the youth. “Before the ban on the 41 items, if we had 90 per cent record in production, now we have 38 per cent now mostly because of the cost of raw material. The caustic soda we buy at N8,000 before the policy has jumped up to N8, 000, the lannet we are buying for N4,800 has increased to N18, 000 still it is scarce.
“Before, I used to order lannet up to seventy bags but the last purchase I made, they gave me two bags because the product is not available, while in our production all the chemicals must be complete so as to get a quality product. If you are producing soap and there is no caustic soda it cannot work, in producing a product all the components must be complete.
“There are up to 200 applications right now in my office but I cannot employ any because I don’t have the money to pay additional staff when we are not producing. The customers are there to buy the products but the raw materials are not there for us to produce. Recently, I got some supply to Cameroon but the goods to give to them are not there, it is an advantage to us that our local products are been exported to the neighboring countries,” he lamented.
Iche equally noted that because of the present situation in the country, industries are closing down on daily basis, but maintained that Nigerian manufactures has all it takes to challenge the western world, “all we need is a little encourage from the government, Nigeria is now been used as a dumping ground by most countries, we are we bringing in products that can be manufactured here in Nigeria thereby creating jobs for the youths.
While speaking on the issue of finance, the AMEN boss urged the federal government to create a small business section in the banks that would be taking care of Micro businesses in Nigeria, saying that commercial bank’s condition for loan to small businesses is too stringent.
According to him, “Bank of Industry (BoI) should reduce their condition for lending credit facilities to Micro Small Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs). The National Enterprise Development Program (NEDEP) fund given to Microfinance Banks to disburse to Nigerian entrepreneurs is not encouraging due to high interest rate.
“To the best of my knowledge, the said funds made available for entrepreneurs are only present on the pages of newspapers. If you go to banks for loan, they said no body is ready to give anybody loan now because they are yet to know the direction of the economy, how can we survive, on daily yearly basis graduates are coming out from the universities joining the cue of unemployment.
“Another challenge we are having in the industry is power; in fact I thought by now the issue of power would have been generally addressed, most of our profits is going back to the purchase of diesels. In most developed countries, it is people us that develop the economy because we are the major employer of labour,” he said.

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