Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has charged the Federal Government to ensure that the country does not turn to a dumping ground with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The president of MAN, Mansur Ahmed, told Financial Street in Lagos that though AfCFTA had the potential of building Africa’s capacity to manufacture and change the narrative of its economy and give the continent a stronger voice and positioning in the global economy, there was still the fear of dumping goods in Nigeria.
The MAN boss, nevertheless, expressed confidence that there would be tremendous opportunity for growth and development, if the countries that signed the agreement were willing to come together and make it a success.
“A possible challenge that stares us in the face is the issue of dumping. The dumping issue, frankly, is a matter of political will. Do our governments and political leaders have the political will to agree on those things that we have to do? For instance, to ensure that we do not allow dumping to take place, there is need to ensure that all countries operate based on the rule of engagement).
“But the difference is that, while some countries will ensure that these regulations are complied with, others, unfortunately, will not do so. This calls for effective monitoring mechanism to be put in place to ensure that all countries do the right thing,” he said.
He added that the association was prepared to take advantage of the agreement.
“At the level of the association, we have conducted series of webinars for our members to get them fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are imbedded in the agreement; while we trust that the Nigerian government will play its part to put adequate measures in place for a beneficial trade agreement. We look forward to an effective National Action Committee on AfCFTA.
“As we project improvement in 2021, it is imperative that the management of the macro economy is approached more pragmatically, and the development of the productive capacities of the nation intentionally enhanced,” said he.
Meanwhile, Ahmed fingered high cost of electricity and low demand of the commodities as some of the major challenges the association was facing.
His words, “High cost of electricity/power, high cost of transportation, low demand of commodity, difficulty in accessing funds, regulatory issues from numerous agencies, poor port administration and unavailability of raw materials, and policy somersaults, to mention a few, are challenges we face.
“These challenges impede the growth of the manufacturing sector, preventing it from attaining its full potential of massive job and wealth creation.”
He said that 2020 was a challenging year, partly due to some perennial issues bedevilling the sector and others thrown up by Coronavirus Disease and the #EndSARS uprising, which, according to him, placed immense pressure on the economy.
“Nonetheless, MAN commends the government on the decision to re-open the land borders for ease of trade engagements, particularly under the implementation phase of AfCFTA, which took effect from January 1, 2021,” he added.
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