The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the federal government to better secure the country’s porous border by adopting a technology based border policing and surveillance system.
According to MAN, the move will check abuse of the intra-Africa Trade protocols and trade malpractices, following the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Director-General of the Association, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said the government should enhance the capacity of the manufacturing sector and other economic actors to take advantage of the opportunities in the continental free trade area.
“In addressing the issue of the country’s porous border which encouraged smuggling of foreign goods, there could not have been a better time to adopt technology-based border policing and surveillance to check abuse of the intra-Africa Trade protocols and trade malpractices.
“Of urgent attention is for the Government to initiate policies that would encourage startups in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, this sector contributes over 80% of the Gross Domestic Product, and if properly incentivized and supported could be able to ramp up production and total exports of the country.”
On the side of the private sector, MAN called on the government to provide a conducive environment, tackle infrastructure challenges and initiate policies to aid regional competitiveness.
“We shall work together to prevail on the Government to do its own bit by providing the conducive atmosphere. The infrastructure challenges such as poor electricity supply, deplorable road network and lack of adequate transportation system (rail network) etc. that constitute the supply constraints should be removed.
“Needed policies to improve the macroeconomic environment should be put in place and existing ease of doing business initiatives strengthened, especially to lower cost and grow existing capacities.
“To aid the competitiveness of local manufacturers, the government should strongly address the issue of multiple taxations and over-regulation of the production sector which has added to the existing myriad of challenges.
“For an open trade arrangement of this nature, we recommend that Industries that would be negatively impacted by the influx of goods should be supported to invest in new areas and displaced labour retrained to take on new employment or vocation.”