- MAN seeks comprehensive, robust industrialisation strategy
President of Dangote Group and Africa’s Doyen of Manufacturing, Aliko Dangote (left), President and Chairman, Afreximbank Board of Directors, Prof. Benedict Oramah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and representative of President Muhammadu Buhari, Niyi Adebayo, Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Bayo Osinowo, and MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, during the event in Lagos
Ahead of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved a $500 million facility for Nigerian manufacturers and companies in intra-African trade to enable them maximise the inherent gains of the agreement.
Speaking during the just ended 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos, the President and Chairman, Afreximbank Board of Directors, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the facility was meant to help manufacturers retool their operations to improve their competitiveness in the continent and globally.
In his presentation, “From Commodities to a Global Manufacturing Hub: The Road Ahead for Nigeria,” the guest lecturer urged the Federal Government to consciously participate in negotiating the terms of the pact, especially the rule of origin.
He warned that the nation could only benefit from AfCFTA as much as it prepared for it. Therefore, he urged Nigeria to fix its micro-economic policies, ensure quality infrastructure and access to market and finance.
Meanwhile, the MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, noted that “AfCFTA, while opening significant opportunities for manufacturers and other economic sectors, will also expose our economy to some real risks and challenges,” therefore the imperative for the country to significantly improve its manufacturing value-chain as “the most assured route to achieving competitiveness, enhancing job creation and lifting the vast majority of our people out of poverty.”
Highlighting the relevance of the AGM theme, “Improving the Value Chain in the Manufacturing Sector for Competitiveness and Job Creation,” Mansur called for a “comprehensive and robust strategy that seeks to address all critical constraints to economic growth and sustainable development.”
According to him, these include the huge deficits in infrastructure, especially energy and transport services; the worrisome burden of multiple taxation and over-regulation; the poor condition of most of the nation’s highways and waterways, and the absence of a credible rail network.
MAN insisted that in spite of government’s policies and initiatives aimed at strengthening the sector to create jobs and end “endemic poverty,” all the above have induced high costs of production and distribution and rendered manufactured goods uncompetitive, while the economy remained fragile as daunting challenges to the manufacturing sector, especially infrastructure, erode its competitiveness.
More so, “for AfCFTA to succeed, we must develop policies that promote African production, among other benefits. Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda,” Mansur said.