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Manufacturing sector in Nigeria and the reality of a “new normal”

The rise in unemployment caused by the pandemic might affect enthusiasm towards the event.

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Manufacturing sector in Nigeria and the reality of a "new normal"

Across the globe, there is a pervading awareness that things will never be the same in the post-pandemic era. Already, some business ventures that were once considered the ‘crème’ of the global economy have taken serious hits in unimaginable measures, and some of the little ones which were regarded as below the rung, are fast rising to match up.

With the new social rules in place, some businesses have come to the sad realisation that they may have to remain closed for much longer than they expected. Even for those businesses that have been allowed to reopen their operations as the world enters a phased and gradual reopening, obvious adjustments still have to be made – including limited physical contact, among others.

In a recent interview, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engineer Mansur Ahmed, noted that these new developments have added significant complications to the manufacturing processes and operations.

READ MORE: Manufacturing: Activity levels pick up albeit readings still below water

For one, the 8-week nation-wide lockdown kept most manufacturing companies shut, or at best operating at significantly lower capacity for the best part of Q2. The result of this was reflected in the sector’s indices, both in terms of output and employment.

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Resuming operations after the lockdown, the manufacturers have had to deal with the challenges of a completely changed system of operation–one which we now commonly recognise as the “new normal.”

A major change in operation can be seen in the sourcing for raw materials. Besides having to deal with the immediate impact of the border closure on operations, there is now the uncertainty of foreign exchange and its impact on the costs of importation (or smuggling of materials when borders are closed).

Nairametrics wrote about a recent CNBC interview where Partner and Head of Consumer & Industrial Markets at KPMG Nigeria, Obi Goodluck, stated that most Nigerian manufacturers had been compelled to source raw materials locally or risk being shut down completely.

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READ MORE: COVID-19: The ‘New Normal’ for Nigerian aviation industry

Goodluck explained that prior to the pandemic, most of the Nigerian manufacturing companies imported a significant percentage of their materials from China, but the pandemic had disrupted that supply chain thus compelling them to look for alternatives.

“Specifically from the Nigerian point of view, we will no longer reply on importation of raw materials. As it were, this pandemic started from China and over 80% of Nigeria’s raw material imports come from China and the Asian countries. With the lockdown even in China, that became an issue. As such, companies had to come up with alternative and innovative means of raw material sourcing. Those who already imported raw materials prior to the lockdown relied on their stock until they ran out…”

These alternatives are not just intended to serve as an immediate alternative but can forestall the possibility of such in the future.

Manufacturing companies have also had to rethink the way they transport goods to their customers, in view of the non-pharmaceutical safety rules put in place. One of the regulations in place presently is ensuring minimal physical contact in the processes.

By implications, companies have to rework the way they move their products to the consumers and this has largely impacted on the logistics costs. It also means that deliveries and logistics is ‘the next big thing’ in the Nigerian market.

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READ MORE: Innoson reacts to FG order to relocate manufacturing plant to Lagos, Kaduna in order not to lose license 

Having to deal with all these changes at a time when thousands have lost their jobs and primary sources of income is even more of a difficult situation. People generally have less purchasing power now than they did before the pandemic, and so weighing of priorities and opportunity costs will always come to play.

Worse still, they would be paying even more now for the same items, given the extra factors at play in the production process. For instance 1kg sachet of Dangote granulated sugar which sold for N250 before the lockdown, now sells between N800 and N900 per unit, while the 250g sachet which sold for N100 before the lockdown now sells between N250 to N300.

Right now, the manufacturing sector is in that small space between the rock and a hard place, and manufacturers are going to have to make some difficult decisions going forward.

One suggestion that comes highly recommended among experts in the industry is backward integration. At the CBN roundtable discussion in April this year, Nigeria’s richest man, Aliko Dangote had also suggested in his keynote address that backward integration was about the surest way to hasten the long-awaited diversification of the economy.

READ ALSO: CAC: Certificate of incorporation will now be delivered via email or courier

There were concerns about how fast the industry could integrate with the agricultural sector so that more of the local produce went into the industries, but the manufacturers were optimistic that this could be worked out in time to enable them enjoy waivers and benefits in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

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It was agreed that the backward integration would require some support moves from the government in creating the right financing and regulatory environment for industries, so that they could integrate more local input in their processes and products and strengthen the supply chain.

READ ALSO: Analysis: Nestlé strong but exposed.

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The MAN president had already assured that the CBN promised that investment in the sector would go towards supporting manufacturers to go into backward integration. If the financial sector could also review its regulations to capture current realities and the needs of the manufacturing sector, more could be achieved in less time.

The Economic Sustainability Plan of the federal government also captures quite a lot to show that the manufacturing industry has a place in the government’s plan, but a seamless implementation remains to be seen. The struggle to ensure that Nigeria produces what Nigerians consume is still on.

In light of new realities, the Unified Exchange Rate proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could also help to create some stability in the FX. Once the exchange rate is more certain and stable, businesses and investors can make definite plans on imports and exports.

Instead of the current situation where the manufacturing sector contributes less than 10% of the GDP, Nigeria is definitely capable of having a manufacturing sector that contributes as much as 25% or more to her GDP, and this should be the target.

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Business

Canada invites another 4,200 Express Entry candidates for permanent residency 

Canada has invited 4,200 immigration candidates to apply for permanent residency.

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Canada, How to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency on your own 

As countries around the world commence relaxation of ban on international travels, the Canadian government has issued another round of invitation to 4,200 Express Entry Candidates, to apply for its permanent residency. 

Canada held its 163rd Express Entry draw, inviting 4,200 immigration candidates to apply for permanent residence on September 16being the second draw this month, with a comprehensive ranking system (CRS) score of 472. This is three points less than the previous draw held earlier in the month. 

This draw matches the 4,200 ITAs issued in an Express Entry round on September 2, which ties it for the second-biggest draw ever. The biggest draw issued 4,500 ITAs on February 19, 2020. The large number of invitations being issued by Canada is a strong indication that it remains committed to welcoming high levels of immigrants in 2021 and beyond. 

READ: Jobberman launches ‘Best Match’ product to get employers the right candidates, faster

The recent round of draw brings the total number of invitations issued this year to 74,150; a new record for this date, indicating an 86.4% success rate. 

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 IRCC used its tie-break rule in this draw. The timestamp used was March 9, 2020, at 13:03:40 UTC. This means that all candidates with a CRS score above 472, as well as those candidates with scores of 472 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before the selected date and time, received an ITA in this invitation round. 

This rule is used to rank candidates, who have the same CRS score. A candidate’s CRS score remains the primary factor in selecting candidates to be invited to apply for permanent residence. Factors that can affect the cut-off CRS score include the size of the draw (larger draws can produce a lower minimum CRS score), and the time between draws (shorter periods between draws can help to lower the CRS score). 

READ: 13.9 million Nigerian youth are unemployed – NBS

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How it works 

Express Entry, is the application system that manages the pool of candidates for Canada’s three main economic immigration classes — the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The highest-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool are issued ITAs in regular invitation rounds. 

A set number of the highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence, through regular draws from the pool. These invitation rounds typically take place every two weeks, and the vast majority involve candidates from all three Express Entry-managed categories. 

Eligible candidates for each program are issued a score under Express Entry’s CRS, which awards points for factors such as age, education, skilled work experience, and proficiency in English or French. 

While a job offer is not required in order to be eligible under the Express Entry system, the CRS does award additional points to candidates who have one. It is worth noting that the Government of Canada has a processing standard of six months for permanent residence applications, filed through the Express Entry system. 

 Nigerians trooping to Canada 

According to the report, Nigeria was the fifth highest country, that migrated into Canada in the month of July 2020, behind India, China, Philippines, and Pakistan. This is an indication, that Nigerians are taking every opportunity possible to move into other countries of the world, perceived to give better opportunities in terms of education, career growth, sufficient earnings, amongst others. 

recent report published by CEOWorld Magazine, reveals that Canada is the third world’s best country to start a career in 2020, which is why many people around the world would troop in numbers, seeking to migrate to the country, while Nigeria on the other hand ranks bottom four, with the likes of Libya, Syria, and Yemen. 

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Lagos State government seals warehouse repackaging expired curry powder

Following an anonymous tip, LASCOPA has sealed off a warehouse where expired curry powder was being packaged.

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Lagos state government seals a warehouse repackaging expired curry powder.

The Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), under the aegis of the Lagos State Government, has sealed a warehouse for repackaging unwholesome and expired curry powder.

This disclosure was made this morning in a press release to the general public, which was seen by Nairametrics, via the official website of Lagos State Government.

READ: Lagos seals 22 other buildings in Banana Island, Ikoyi axis over permits

Acting on an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public, the Special Monitoring Team of LASCOPA, led by its General Manager, Mrs. Kemi Olugbode, paid an unscheduled assessment visit to the warehouse, to verify the claim. The tip turned out to be genuine.

This decision is in line with the State Government’s core mandate of protecting consumers from unwholesome products. The warehouse which was sealed by LASCOPA, for repackaging unwholesome and expired curry powder with the name Chinchilli and Ducross for sale, was said to be owned by Canvest Nigeria Limited. The warehouse is located at Plot 4, Cocoa Industrial Road, Ogba, Ikeja.

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The General Manager, speaking after the exercise, said the enforcement team discovered thousands of expired products stored in cartons, while some were found in sacks that were ready to be repackaged for sale in the market.

(READ MORE: Lagos to remove illegal structures obstructing Lekki Regional Road project)

The Head of LASCOPA, emphasized that the staffs of the company involved in the fraudulent operation have been arrested. Olugbode disclosed that the property will remain sealed until the government commences prosecution of the owners of the warehouse, and all those involved in the illicit activity are apprehended.

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Mrs. Olugbode, also encouraged members of the public to support the present administration’s determination to rid Lagos of all illegal activities, by reporting those who are engaged in unwholesome activities that are detrimental to the health of residents.

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FG to seek international cooperation to curb illicit financial flows

FG hopes to strengthen international cooperation in curtailing the menace of illicit financial flows.

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FG to seek international cooperation to curb illicit financial flows, Ghana and south africa, Illicit financial flows: Nigeria lost $157.5 billion between 2003 and 2012 - Buhari , President Buhari says World Bank, IMF data are not reliable, Ahead of Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa top FDI inflows in Africa – Fitch , Nigeria’s Buhari wants MDAs to publicly disclose transactions above N5 million  

The Federal Government has said that there is a compelling need to strengthen international cooperation in the global effort to curtail the menace of illicit financial flows, as current international mechanisms are not strong enough.

This was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) Panel Video Conference.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, explained that the event was held at the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

READ: EFCC and CBN intensifies fight against financial fraudsters

The session also featured presentations by the immediate past President of the United Nations General Assembly, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and Amb. Mona Jul of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

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He said, “The current international mechanisms for asset recovery are not good enough as can be seen in the amount lost to illicit financial flows and the length of time taken before the repatriation of just a small fraction is made.

READ: Nigeria received $96 billion diaspora remittances inflow in 6-years

“The FACTI Panel report can play an important role in bridging the expectations of source and destination countries as well as in harmonising the process of assets recovery and return. We agree with the Panel on the importance of having a balanced approach that reflects the situation in different regions and the priorities of different stakeholders. I believe that for the global aspiration to recover better from the impact of the pandemics and to yield any inclusive result, we must comprehensively address existing structures that make it impossible for countries to generate and retain a sizeable chunk of their resources. The success of the FACTI panel’s final report will be measured by the clarity of its recommendations in support of global governance reforms.”

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READ: UK Prime Minister diagnosed of Coronavirus

According to the President, evidence suggested that the contemporary international tax system used a taxing rights regime that was not fit for purpose.

He added that the system makes combating tax abuses, especially by multinational corporations, difficult for most developing countries.

READ: Nigeria, Ethiopia sign visa waiver agreement

“It is my hope that the final report of the FACTI Panel would introduce proposals that would lead us towards a fairer international tax regime .I also hope that the report would contain proposals that would address the continuing advocacy for country-by-country reporting, open disclosure and automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership, as well as eliminate financial secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens that facilitate base erosion and profit shifting. Profit shifting, harmful tax competition–the so-called “race to the bottom–and the taxation of the digital economy should also receive adequate attention and focus in the report of the Panel. FACTI Panel’s report should assess how effectively we are meeting our commitments to combating the scourge and strengthening cooperation in dispute settlement and peer learning, particularly in assets recovery and return,” he said.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

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Other leaders who spoke at the forum included the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Niazi and Former President of Lithuania, and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, Dalia Grybauskaite.

Ibrahim Mayaki, former Prime Minister of Niger and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, also spoke at the event.

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