Nigeria FG mobilises committee to save local firms over AfCFTA

The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, has stated that plans are ongoing to set up an action committee to protect local manufacturers.He said the move was imperative to address smuggling post-Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) while also tapping into the opportunities that the agreement would bring.

The Minister stated this on the sidelines of the yearly general meeting of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos.The Minister, who also represented President Muhammad Buhari, said: “The whole idea is to tap the opportunities that are going to arise. An action committee is being set up and the committee will look at the modalities about what we need to do as a country to protect the local manufacturers as well.”

According to him, many African countries have enviable GDP growth rates compared to their global peers, but stated that there are still high poverty, unemployment and mortality rates within the continent.This, he said indicates that the reported growth was not inclusive, saying the growth was driven by resource extraction without local value addition.He said unless the country focuses investments on rural development, migration into urban areas will continue to increase further, therefore stressing the social and physical infrastructure in key cities.

The President of MAN, Mansur Ahmed, said the manufacturing sector has been afflicted by an enormous appetite for oil price determined foreign currency flows, as well as the propensity for foreign goods consumption, saying that the present administration’s emphasis on economic diversification and a steady focus on agricultural transformation and pursuit of food security cannot, therefore, be faulted.

He lamented that despite these policies and initiatives, the economy has remained fragile and the manufacturing sector, in particular, still continues to face daunting challenges.He added that the state of infrastructure has deeply eroded the competitiveness of the sector, stressing that the supply of electricity, access to ports and their low operating efficiencies, the poor condition of most of the nation’s highways and waterways, and the absence of a credible rail network all constitutes impediments to operating efficiencies of manufacturing outfits.(Theguardian)

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