The manufacturers complained that the agency’s regulatory functions were not properly aligned thereby affecting operations of manufacturers.
The Chairman, PMGMAN, Okey Akpa, said, “Today, in Nigeria, manufacturers in the industry are constantly faced with environmental challenges bordering on regulations, obtaining permits, over-regulation, balancing the ecological system in the wake of growing concern for environmental sustainability and the use of green energy, multiplication of functions by government agencies, among other challenges.
“Without the alignment of the functions of these agencies, manufacturers will be burdened with additional costs of production which would continue to make products manufactured in Nigeria uncompetitive in the international market.
“These challenges necessitated this interaction with the management of NESREA who are responsible for some of these issues. This gathering is also aimed at fostering a cordial relationship between MAN members and the agency so as to have a better understanding of their policies/functions; explore areas of collaborations and partnerships at creating a friendlier business environment for manufacturing in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, the Director General, MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-kadiri, who was represented by the Head, Corporate Affairs, MAN, Mr Ambrose Oruche, said, “I believe that we all are aware that the activities of NESREA are crucial to safeguarding our environment.
“It, therefore, suffices to say that your agency can provide solutions to the challenges being confronted by our members in their various locations as it relates to the environment.
“It is in the light of the above that our members decided to organise this meeting with decision makers of NESREA to provide firsthand information to our members on how to conduct their businesses without infringing on environmental laws.”
The Director General NESREA, Prof Aliyu Jauro, who was represented by the Director, Inspection and Enforcement, Mrs Miranda Amachree, noted that the key issues of concerns prevalent in the industrial sector were; some facilities indulging in sharp and unethical practice, improper disposal of solid waste, poor housekeeping and unsound chemical management.
He said, “There is therefore the need for improvement with the level of compliance to the submission of environmental documents such as the permits and environmental audits that are used to monitor the environment.
“We realise the problem being faced by businesses on the issue of multiple regulations and multiple taxation among government agencies. While the solution does not entirely lie with NESREA, the agency has made concessions where necessary, particularly under the chemical import clearance regime.
“We have now harmonised the clearance system with the permit of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, so once you show us the permit from NAFDAC, you are issued the import clearance for your raw materials.”
On the environment audit cycle, Jauro said that could not be resolved without the environmental impact assessment Act.
“Let me assure you that agency will be guided by equity and fairness in the regulation of the manufacturing sector. It will conduct its activities in a way that will prevent unnecessary burden on the regulated community so long as the extant environmental laws are complied with,” he added.
The NESREA DG advised manufacturers to engage the services of environmental officers to handle the environmental units of their facilities, to ensure self-regulation and proper submission of documents.
He disclosed that the agency had flagged off the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility programme in the electronic sector, with MAN as board member, adding, “The agency will soon commence enforcement to ensure compliance.”