Association urges Government to address gaps in economic ecosystem

Haier air conditioning units with components manufactured in China are being assembled into the final products in Nigeria for the local market.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised the Federal Government to address the gaps in economic ecosystem to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2020.

The Director-General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, spoke to news reporters on Saturday in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ajayi-Kadir urged the government to focus on mitigating the supply constraints which had limited the sector’s competitiveness:

“As you are aware, we are entering the implementation stage of the AfCFTA in July 2020.

“Government synergy with key private sector operators should be deepened; this is both in consultation ahead of policy formulation, implementation and active involvement in monitoring.

“It should re-focus and expand private sector participation in the provision of trade facilitation infrastructure and public utilities.”

He called for improved power supply and accelerated road repairs, particularly in the industrial areas and the Lagos ports:

“…This has degenerated into a nightmare as manufacturers pay over one million Naira and wait for more than two weeks to get a 40-foot container out of any of the ports.

“There is also the multiplicity of levies often charged by different tiers of government.

“One can only look at 2020 within the context of current policies of government and its objectives in the year.

“There appears to be challenging times ahead; government is aware of the issues and amenable to tackling them.”

Ajayi-Kadir, however, said that the menace of smuggling had been reduced by current border closure, even though it was not a permanent solution.

He suggested the use of modern technology and reorientation of relevant trade-related government agencies.

According to him, some of the adopted policies will negatively impact on the manufacturing sector in the New Year.

He also said, “the increase in the value added tax would compound the challenge of unplanned inventories of manufactured goods, and dampen the impact of the minimum wage increase.

“This will put enormous pressure on government resources and reduce its capacity to deal with infrastructure deficit bedevilling the economy.”

Amaka E. Nliam