- President of MAN, Mansur Ahmad
MAN tasks govt on ‘real risks, challenges’ from AfCFTA
Inclusive growth in Africa is only possible through industrialisation, which will enable the continent address its high rate of poverty, unemployment and mortality rate, President Muhammed Buhari has said.
Buhari, who spoke in Lagos at the 2019 Manufacturers Annual Lecture/Presidential Luncheon of the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), regretted that in spite of the claims to viable Gross Domestic Product (GDP) among African countries, the continent was still burdened with wide-margin negative indices.
Represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, Buhari insisted that “the industrialisation of Africa is absolute necessity and non-negotiable. It is the key to inclusive growth.
“Many African countries have viable GDP growth rate compared to their global peers but at the same time we see very high poverty, unemployment, mortality rate within the continent. This clearly indicates that this reported growth is not inclusive, it is driven by result extraction without local value addition.”
Blaming the nation’s security challenges to “decay or under-investment in the productive rural economy,” he insisted that “unless we focus on investing in rural development, migration to the urban area will continue to increase, threatening the social and critical infrastructure in the cities.”
“I therefore challenge you all, over the coming days, to collectively develop implementable strategy that support value addition within Nigeria and indeed Africa. We have the raw materials, we have the population, we have the capacity, so this vision is achievable.”
Meanwhile, the MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, noted that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), while opening significant opportunities for manufacturers and other economic sectors, will also expose our economy to some real risks and challenges.
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.”
“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. To achieve beneficial free trade, we must significantly improve the value-chain in our manufacturing sector.”