The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised the federal government to address the gaps in the nation’s economic ecosystem to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2020.
The Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.
Mr Ajayi-Kadir said the government should focus on mitigating the supply constraints which have 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 said.
The director-general said that there should be 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 that two weeks to get a 40-foot container out of any of the ports.
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“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,” he said.
Mr Ajayi-Kadir, however, said that the menace of smuggling had been reduced by current border closure even if it was not a permanent solution.
He said the use of modern technology and reorientation of relevant trade-related government agencies would be helpful.
According to him, some of the adopted policies will negatively impact on the manufacturing sector in the new year.
He also said that 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,” Mr Ajayi-Kadir said.
He said that the sector might not show any improvement from its current level with a growth rate not beyond two per cent and a double-digit inflation rate.
The director-general said that it would deepen forex restrictions in the face of inadequate local supply of raw materials.