‘Manufacturers’ productivity hampered by Lagos gridlock’

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Local producers under the aegis of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), have raised concerns about the state of traffic gridlock in Lagos, noting that the situation is hampering the flow of goods and services as inventories’ level rises.

According to them, with long hours spent in traffic, most goods are unable to reach their destinations, thus slowing down productivity in the factories and increasing the volume of unsold goods.

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The Director General, MAN, Segun Kadir, added that the gridlock also makes manufacturers more susceptible to miscreants who take advantage of the traffic situation.

Kadir in a chat with The Guardian, however urged the government to embark on road repairs in the night when there is less traffic, saying that road repairs during the day time is not the best option.

In his words: “The Lagos traffic is actually a major problem, if you spend so many hours the road, we need to calculate how much an hour it costs for you to know how debilitating it is on business, as your goods are not delivered on time. I think government should rapidly move to resolve it.

“The LASTMA and the security agencies that would have made it easier are nearly absent, and I think that in times of crisis like this, you should have agencies of government that are saddled with the responsibility of keeping the roads passable on ground, but we do understand that there are repairs taking place, but repairs do not have to be this painful.

“I believe working on roads during the day is not really the best; they should maximize the night for the repairs of the roads when there is less traffic; but so far so good I believe we should be able to come out of it as quickly as possible.”

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On measures to address power challenges in the real sector, Kadir said: “What we have is what we call the manpower development company which was facilitated to give our members access to power. As you know, power is like blood to the manufacturers; so, what we have done is to create a company that is a special purpose vehicle that will be able to have an arrangement with suppliers of power whether captive or through the national grid to be able to reach our members in clusters.

However, we have been hampered by the not too successful attempt of the Eligible Customer Scheme. What has hampered it is actually the fact that we are required by some regulation to have a no-objection letter if you like from the Discos with whom we are also engaged in a court case. So, it is like asking your enemies to pray for you. I think essentially, we are trying to go around that, but we are saying that there has to be more ingenious ways for us to benefit from capturing the so-called stranded power.”

Kadir also said the border closure by the federal government is not a sustainable strategy, and adviced the government to find a more convenient way to manage the crisis for businesses to survive.

He warned that the border closure if kept shut for too long, would only intensify smuggling through other routes that are not covered by the closure.

“The government has to be strategic and timely in terms of taking the right decision to resolve the issues, and apart from diplomatic channels that are being used in resolving the issue, we need to be quick in developing our technology around the border such that it is not the physical closure. This is because when you physically close, you shut both the good and bad businesses, and I think government has to come to a realisation that businesses cannot be kept hanging as they would find different expressions which maybe potentially be more dangerous for us”, he added.

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