Chemstar Paints Industry Nigeria Limited has called on the Federal Government to urgently make foreign exchange accessible to manufacturers, noting that the manufacturing sector is still heavily dependent on imports to meet its raw material needs for production.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Chemstar Paints Industry Nigeria Limited, Aderemi Awode, explained that manufacturers are also faced with poor infrastructural facilities, as most manufacturing concerns still have to provide their own power supply to remain in business.

Awode, at its customers’ forum in Lagos, also lamented that the unavailability of critical infrastructure is eating deep into the profit margins of manufacturing outfits in the country.

In his words, “There are areas we want the Federal Government to address because Nigeria is blessed with lots of human and natural resources. We want the Federal Government to address the inadequate power supply disrupting manufacturing activities as many manufacturing firms spend a lot to generate their own power supply, which has also reduced profit margins, significantly. The federal government must also come to our aid by fixing the road infrastructure as most of the roads are very bad and we transport our raw materials and finished goods on deplorable road conditions.

“Lack of access to forex is still a challenge to every manufacturer in the country and most of the products we manufacture in this country have an element of importation. Currently, the industry we operate imports about 40 per cent of our raw materials since our refineries are not working, so, anytime we have forex issues, we will always have challenges and this has affected profit margins of manufacturers in the country.

“We do not want to pass the burden to our customers, so what we do is make do with the margins we have hoping that this is a temporary challenging period.”

On the customers’ forum, the Chemstar boss said it is a way to show gratitude to its loyal and esteemed customers for standing with the company through thick and thin over the past two decades.

At the event, customers were rewarded with cash and gifts as a way of appreciating their loyalty over the years.

“It is not about how much we have spent that matters, but what we have been able to do a lot to appreciate our customers. We have had customers that have been with us for 15 to 20 years and with the instability of many manufacturing firms in the country, we cannot help but appreciate them. We have been through thick and thin together and that is why we have this forum every year.

“We have had our own challenges, but this is an industry we know very well and we have been doing this for over two decades now. We always plan ahead to offer solutions to all the challenges that come our way and we do not allow any economic downturn determine the fate of our businesses,” he added.