Asaba – The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said that no fewer than 800 companies in Nigeria closed shop between 2009 and 2011 due to harsh operating business environment.
Dr Herbert Ajayi, President of NACCIMA, gave the figure on Tuesday in Asaba in a paper he presented at a zonal workshop on economic diversification organised by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
Ajayi said that more than half of the “surviving” firms had been classified as “ailing’’, a situation, he said, posed a great threat to the survival of the manufacturing industry.
He added that capacity utilisation in industries hovered around 30 per cent and 45 per cent on the average, with 100 per cent overhead costs.
He blamed the continued decline in the manufacturing sectors on “political and economic factors’’, citing poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply as key impediments to the industry.
“The manufacturing industry as a whole operates on more than 70 per cent of energy it generates; using generators and operating these generators greatly increases the cost of manufacturing goods,’’ he said.
The industrialist gave other reasons for the woes in the sector as incessant increase in the price of petroleum products used by industries, multiple taxation, unabated smuggling and inadequate access to finance, both local and abroad.
According to him, widespread insecurity and the inability of government agencies in the ports to meet its 24-hour target for cargo clearance have contributed to the dwindling fortunes in the manufacturing sector.
The NACCIMA president, whose speech was delivered by Mrs Mary Iyasere, Vice President of the association, described current government policies to revive the manufacturing industry as inadequate.