About 8,543 jobs were recorded in the nation’s manufacturing sector, in the first half of the outgoing Year 2022, making it a total cumulative of 1,679,984 direct employment, created since 2013, surveys conducted by the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), have revealed.
The association, in its Executive Summary of H1, 2022 Economic Review, tagged ‘Global and Nigerian Macroeconomic Highlights’, released recently, described the 8,543 figure, as an improvement, compared with the 7602 jobs recorded in the corresponding half of 2021, and 8508 in the second half of 2021.
It therefore attributed the marginal job increase, in the period under review, to positive and continuous adjustments in manufacturing activities to accommodate the current economic hardship and sustain production by manufacturers.
According to the association, power from the national grid has continued to hold down the growth of the sector; with the average number of outages per day increasing 6 times, thereby doubling the figure of 3 times recorded in the preceding half, which more than off-set the increase in supply in the period.
The poor power supply from the grid, the association stated, fueled self-energy generation among manufacturers, as expenditure on alternative energy source soared to N67.77 billion in the first quarter of 2022 (year-on-year) up from N32.18 billion recorded in the first half of 2021 and N45.04 billion of the second half respectively.
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The report also revealed an increase in the average lending rate to the sector from the commercial banks, as evidenced in the increase to 23.5 percent (year-on-year) up from 19 percent of the corresponding half in 2021, but declined by 0.5 percentage point, compared with 24 percent interest charged to manufacturers in the second half of 2021.
“The growing lending rate in the economy is underscored by, among others, the upwards review of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 11.5 percent to 13 percent by the CBN in May 2022 even though the asymmetric corridor at +100/-700 around MRP; Credit Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5% and Liquidity Ratio at 30% remained unchanged,” it stated.
The association therefore called for a more a proactive broad and sector-focused measures that would enable the country address some of the challenges thrown up by some happenings around the globe, such as the Russian/Ukrainian war.
One of the measures, MAN recommended, is to improve the level of forex allocation to the productive sector including manufacturing leveraging on the high and sustained crude oil prices in the international market; while also carrying out further investment in the electricity value chain, with a commitment to adding 10000MW to the current electricity distributed in the country.