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Manufacturers identify improved infrastructure as key to realising benefits of AfCFTA

Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN)

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised the Federal Government to get its policies right by making them industry- friendly, as the operational phase of the AfCFTA commences on July 1, 2020.

MAN explained that a conducive environment can only attract needed investment as the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade.

Its President, Dr. Mansur Ahmed, while speaking at the 2020 edition of the MAN Reporter of the Year Award in Lagos last week, urged the government to show readiness by addressing the supply side constraints of lack of infrastructure, to be able to enjoy the gains of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He argued that policies and regulations should be lenient for businesses and seen as a way of assisting them to grow, to enhance competitiveness and boost the economy. He said that competitiveness cannot be achieved without the provision of infrastructure such as good road networks and electricity, not only within African countries but also across the borders.

“As the Association remains at the forefront for setting the pace for engagement with other African manufacturers, the Nigerian government must also lead by example in ensuring that policies are industry-friendly, as this is the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade.

“Modern industry competitiveness depends to a great extent on provision of adequate and efficient infrastructure. “There is also the aspect of provision of soft infrastructure – like visa, tariffs, and foreign exchange – that will help ease up the process of carrying out business transactions between countries,’’ he said.

According to him, transportation is vital to enhancing competitiveness in trade.

“For instance, due to poor infrastructure, it will cost a business owner in Nigeria more to transport goods from Lagos to Kano than it will cost a Chinese business owner to transport the same goods from China to Lagos.

“We must address all these issues since the AfCFTA is not just about trade in goods, but also trade in services,” he said.

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Source: Business – TODAY NG

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