The Paint Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) has decried the scarcity of foreign exchange for manufacturers, adding that skyrocketing prices of paints raw materials and packaging inputs is pushing the cost of production to the roof top.
Indeed, the association stated that the sector is still beset with myriads of challenges as the sector is still passing through trying and difficult time on account of negative effects, the Covid 19 pandemic has had on the operations of its members.
The Chairman, PMAN, Mr. Ambolu Babatunde in a chat with newsmen added that industry is still struggling with the effects of the shutdowns in 2022, pointing out that the sector is still being challenged by scarcity of foreign exchange, skyrocketing prices of paints raw materials and packaging inputs as well as sales of finished paint products, stressing that these bottlenecks have pushed the cost of production to the roof top.
“They have also made the business environment unfavourable and unattractive to investors. With these challenges, our products will be uncompetitive when the African single market eventually takes off,” he said.
He stated this at the PMAN Nigeria 2022 coating show tagged, “Maximising the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area in post Covid era,” in Lagos.
He however, assured paints users in the country and Africa that PMAN is committed to transiting to the reformulation/production of lead free paints for healthy environment even as monitoring and enforcement are billed to commence soon.
He added that its members are yet to explore African markets fully, noting that only a fragment of players in the industry is selling their products through the informal routes to some West African countries.
Babatunde pointed out the need to explore ways and strategies to penetrate other markets outside the shores of the country.
According to him, there is the need for paint manufacturers in Nigeria to adhere to current and future developments in the manufacture and sale of paints, developments in raw material input for industry, saying that other issues include lead contents paints, environmental issues, improved quality of their products to enable them benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will soon take off.
He pointed out that some industry players have observed that the paint industry is facing the challenges of dearth of middle level manpower(paint technicians) and have called for the restart of the Certificate programme in Paints and Coatings Technology at the Yaba College of Technology, stressing that the programme collapsed due to wrong management decision at the institution.
“The National Executive Council, our parent body and other stakeholders are looking at the various options available. The programme maybe run on a new arrangement if things work out as envisaged,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Raw Materials Research and Development (RMRDC), Prof. Ibrahim Hussaini Doko, said the industry has grown and evolved over time, saying that Nigerian paint industry is one of the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributors in the country and a major player in the deployment of labor and economic advancement.
The Director, Research and Advocacy Support Division, MAN, Dr. Oluwasegun Osidipe, said Nigeria must have a trade policy in place before signing trade agreements, saying that a draft was submitted for the first time to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment two weeks as a result of advocacy.
He said the essence of a trade policy is to clearly define the area of interest, adding that during negotiations, agreements must be signed in line with national aspirations.