The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the federal government to initiate policies that would encourage startups in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The director-general of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who disclosed this in a press statement by the association recently, explained that the federal government did carry out an all-inclusive nationwide consultation and just like MAN, conducted a country-specific study on the potential impact of AfCFTA.
He said: “The Presidential Steering Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment of the AfCFTA was set up to guide the government on how to independently assess the benefits and risks of the AfCFTA to Nigeria and to propose short, medium and long-term measures to manage them.
“MAN actively participated at the Steering Committee level as well as the Technical Working Group. It was based on the outcome of these processes that the President was advised and he did append his signature at the just concluded Extra-Ordinary Session of the African Union.’’
He further states that going forward, MAN count on the commitment of government to enhance the capacity of the manufacturing sector and indeed other economic actors to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the continental free trade area and mitigate the multifarious risks.
He said: “We also expect that MAN would be part of the national structures and processes that would be put in place by the federal government to manage the process.”
On the side of the private sector, Ajayi-Kadir said that “We need to optimise our processes and innovate to outperform our contemporaries in the other countries of Africa. We shall work together to prevail on the government to do its own bit by providing the conducive atmosphere.”
He also stated that the infrastructure challenges such as poor electricity supply, deplorable road network and lack of adequate transportation system (rail network) among others which constitute the supply constraints should be removed. He stated that needed policies to improve the macroeconomic environment should be put in place and existing ease of doing business initiatives strengthened, especially to lower the cost and grow existing capacities.
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