Industrialist Decries Neglect Of Metallurgical Industry

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The Chairman of the Metal Operators of Nigeria (South East zone) being a Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sub-sector of the Nigerian Metallurgical Industry – Goddi M. Ihenacho has decried the continued neglect which according to him the Federal Government has demonstrated against the sector.

Ihenacho, who doubles as the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) GMICORD Industrial Group Owerri blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal government for the stunted growth of the Metal Operators in the country.

He urged the Federal government and the CBN to study the examples of China and India and apply same to energise the SMEs in this sector to thrive.

“The Federal Government should borrow a leaf from its Chinese counterpart and grant export incentives to Industrialists under the auspices of Metal Operators in order to attract foreign exchange inflow to Nigeria. Government can give a certain percentage of the export value to the manufacturers”, Ihenacho said.

In China he said: “the lending rates are between 0.2-5 percent with long term repayment period. Allowing Metal Operators to borrow at Commercial banks’ rates like traders are suicidal”

Ihenacho, however, charged the CBN to establish what he called “special fund” for the Operators at an interest rate of 2-3 percent with long term repayment period spreading to about 30 years.

He disclosed that Chinese companies are flooding Nigeria’s market with very low priced products which are in competition with Nigeria products, stressing that as a natural consequence of competition, this is pushing out operators, who regularly source their Forex needs from black market.

In a similar way, “we now know that Indian companies operating in Nigeria are supported by Bank of India with very low interest rate for machineries and long term repayment plan”, and the Bank of India finances the Indian Industrialists’ raw materials imported into India and allows them to pay back within 90-120 days, the Chairman said.