Business

Experts Advocate Value Cultivation In Food, Beverage, And Tobacco Manufacturing

Stakeholders in the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco (FBT) Sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have enjoined local manufacturers to sustain the culture of quality throughout the entire manufacturing process to maintain brand loyalty and ultimately increase the bottom line consistently. 

This charge was made during the 2024 Annual General Meeting of the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) which was held recently in Lagos. Declaring the AGM open, the Director General/CEO of MAN Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, mni, urged manufacturers to prioritize quality, standards, and innovation in the manufacturing process to remain relevant to consumers.  He stressed the need for collaboration among manufacturers to create a greater impact on the Nigerian economy.

He decried the increase in electricity tariff, saying it worsens the already harsh operating environment. “Local manufacturers have remained resilient against daunting macroeconomic and infrastructure inadequacies – notably power. But manufacturers need power at a fair price. Power accounts for about 40 percent of our cost, depending on how power-intensive the manufacturing process is,” Ajayi-Kadir noted.

Speaking on the theme: “Cultivating Value: Employing Quality, Standards, and Innovation in Strengthening Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing”, the Guest Speaker and Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability of Rite Foods Limited, Mr. Ekuma Eze, described the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Sector as a very significant sector in the Nigerian manufacturing landscape, representing 34 percent of the entire manufacturing sector and a GDP contribution of about 5 percent in 2022.

He however, noted that although the manufacturing industry is a key driver of the economy, Nigeria’s manufacturers were far from being competitive because of structural and systemic challenges that have inhibited the growth of manufacturing and its contribution to the economy.

“Whereas the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco manufacturing sector remains the largest manufacturing sub-sector, it is still far from competitive on a global scale”, Eze emphasized. “On the local scene, the odds are steeped against manufacturers including poor infrastructure, high inflation, energy issues, forex illiquidity, unpredictable regulatory environment, insecurity, and high tax burdens which has severely impacted the profitability of the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco sector in recent years.”

However, he advocated for strategic government intervention to enhance the sub-sector’s competitiveness, particularly in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Our policies must encourage manufacturing to ensure economic progress because manufacturing should be a key driver of economic growth, job creation, income generation, and contribution to the GDP,” he said.

Also,  Dr. Aina Olugbenga Steven, deputy director at NAFDAC and chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST),  Lagos chapter, said local manufacturers must be commended, “for continually combating such challenges as electricity tariff and foreign exchange volatility within Nigeria’s business environment which has remained volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA).”

The high point of the day was the election of new officials to lead the group. Mr. Chinedu Okereke, Managing Director of The La Casera Company emerged as the new chairman with Mr. Fred Chiazor as Vice Chairman. Mrs. Olajumoke Bamigbola (Treasurer) and Mrs. Bukola Akanmu (Technical Adviser) complete the quartet.

The outgoing Chairman, Engr. (Dr.) Patrick Anegbe thanked everyone for their support and called on members to cooperate with the new team for the overall growth and progress of the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco sectors.

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