THE Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has said that the country may not be able to avoid depression with the current policies of the Federal Government.
MAN specifically said Nigerians would become poorer with the recent hikes in electricity tariff and fuel price.
Chairman of MAN, Rivers and Bayelsa Branch, Senator Adawari Pepple, explained that Nigerians would soon be facing tough times considering the revelation by the National Bureau of Statistics that the country was operating on a 12.3 per cent inflation rate.
Pepple, who spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Monday, added that with the recent increase in fuel price and electricity tariff, the cost of transportation, other services and essential goods would go up.
He said, “We will definitely enter depression. With these policies, we are inevitably there because lending rates will remain as it is, saving rate will drop from what it was to 1.5 or 1.3 per cent. Even if you leave your money in the bank, you are poorer by the difference.
“Obviously, Nigerians are poorer when people cannot buy; when money is not in circulation. That practically leads you into depression. For the manufacturer, you cannot borrow because the Central Bank has not made any proclamation on the drop on interest rates.
“So, when you borrow and manufacture goods, it is expected that Nigerians will be able to purchase, but their purchasing power has been depleted so much that the inflation is so much. Yet the cost of living is so high; they have to pay fares to their places of work.
“We are almost into depression; we have not yet heard government pronouncement on that, but it’s inevitable. The way we are going, the economy is going to be depressed in a very serious manner. Don’t forget that Nigerians also have always been managing to survive in this era of COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum has called on the Federal Government to reverse the recent increase in electricity tariff and price of petrol.