NIGERIA – The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Federal Government to halt the proposed increase on Value Added Tax (VAT) by 50 per cent.

According to the president of the association, Mansur Ahmed, insistence on upward review of VAT would be counterproductive amid the ongoing challenges experienced in the sector, including electricity supply and double taxation.

“We have advised the government to jettison the idea of increasing VAT by 50 percent as recommended by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

“We have clearly stated that such move will be counterproductive especially in the light of the still awaited minimum wage.

“We have not relented in working assiduously to add value to the manufacturing environment through engagements with heads of government, ministries, departments and agencies on policies that impact on the real sector,” he stressed.

Ahmed says that MAN is engaging the Federal Inland Revenue Service with a view to addressing the numerous challenges in the tax system in order to improve the country’s business environment.

Ahmed said that the manufacturing sector had continued to be the key driver of rapid economic growth and the creation of employment.

“However, the role of manufacturing in stimulating employment, directly or indirectly, is complex and requires careful analysis. Manufacturing plays an irreplaceable role in driving growth and economic development,” he said.

He also urged the government at all levels to always engage manufacturers when policies with direct bearing on the manufacturing sector and the economy were being designed.

Meanwhile, a global measurement and data analytics company, Nielsen Holdings Plc, has said that the Nigerian retail landscape is set for a ‘multitude of shifts’.

The group projects that the country’s retail sector is set to record continuous growth supported by the increasing urbanisation – hitting 55 per cent by 2025 coupled by a strong and rapid urban growth.

The research firm advised retailers and manufacturers to be equipped to beat the odds they were facing in Nigeria by anticipating and preparing for the future.

The company’s Managing Director, Nielsen Nigeria, Ned Nooy, says “In a challenging environment, finding opportunities with the right insights becomes key to help beat the odds.”

He points out that manufactures need to align their products with the changing consumer needs with a greater focus on quality and affordability in order to shore up consumer confidence.

Within such a complex market, Ned insists that “marketers need to cater to the demands of those who want value and at the same time those who are aspirational and want quality, premium products.”