Coleman CEO Urges FG To Reassess Fiscal, Macroeconomic Policies Amidst Manufacturers’ Challenges

Mr. George Onafowokan, CEO of Coleman Technical Industries Limited (CTIL),has urged the federal government to reconsider certain fiscal and macroeconomic policies causing detrimental impacts on the manufacturing sector and other enterprises.

Onafowokan specifically highlighted the successive increases in the exchange rate used for calculating import duties, which surged from N422.30/$ in June 2023 to over N1, 400/$ currently.

He said: “The manufacturers are literally struggling at the moment and we need to review a lot of decisions that have been made both on the macro, fiscal and monetary policies levels.

“If you look at them, raw materials and machineries for instance are being imported into Nigeria. But government is increasing custom rate figures on a day by day basis, which is a fiscal policy issue that I do not think is helping matters. It might be increasing revenue to the government but more businesses will continue to die. That is one key area that needs review.”

Onafowokan made this call last week in Lagos during the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) Next Generation Series, with the theme, “Transforming a Manufacturing Business.”

He disclosed that he took over the management of CTIL from his father, Mr. Solomon Onafowokan, in 2021 when it had a negative balance sheet but was able to build it up to a N250 billion business and transforming it to the largest cable manufacturing company in West Africa.

He said: “I inherited a business with negative balance sheet and zero working capital in 2021. It took us six months to take the business to stability. I received my first salary as CEO after six months. In 2023, we expanded the business to about 2,000 square meters. In 2009 we moved to Arepo and became the biggest cable manufacturer in West Africa. We took the value of the business in 2009 from N1 billion to N15 billion and then to N250 billion presently. We started as an SME because I met only one machine.”

He explained that the sustainability of family owned business is based on growing a team that is to build from the ground up.

“Sustainability is actually happening when you are not micromanaging but empowering people to actual deliver on their respective roles,” Onafowokan said.

He, however, identified adulteration of products as one of the major challenges manufacturers are contending with in Nigeria, adding that he has been fighting it

The President of NBCC, Mr. Ray Atelly, described lack of business succession plan as a sign of underdevelopment, which is not the right way.

“The way to go is that we need to plan for it.  Organisations should know that their CEO or chairman will not live forever. He may be called by God but what happens to the business?” Atelly asked.

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