Nigeria Government Urged to Curb Trade Appetite

Nigeria Government Urged to Curb Trade Appetite

Not all trade agreements are worth engaging in, and those that are must be supported by appropriate policies and necessary infrastructures. That was the advice given to the Nigerian government by Rev. Isaac Ade Agoye, outgoing Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ikeja Branch.

“In order to guarantee the continued survival and profitability of our businesses, we expect the federal government to provide the requisite infrastructure support, especially power (energy), refrain from policy inconsistencies and take practical steps to stop high incidence of unfair competition from import of smuggled sub-standard goods and counterfeits,” Agoye said, speaking at the 46th Annual General Meeting of the association in Lagos, as reported in Vanguard.

The problems hurting manufacturers are two-fold, according to Agoye.

First, government needs to look into smuggled goods and stop such activity, Agoye stressed, as the number of illegal products on the market has risen, to the detriment of manufacturing.

The second problem, according to Agoye, is the overlap in functions of various government regulatory agencies. Their duplication of efforts and multiple visits result in overall inefficiency and, many times, duplication of fees, taxes and fines to the manufacturers.

Agoye also cited lopsided tariff regimes, inadequate access to finance and heavy capital flight, weak consumer demand for local products, waning small and medium scale industrial concerns and decay in infrastructural facilities as issues Nigerian manufacturers continue to face.

The result, he said, is poor performance by the manufacturing sector and the closure of manufacturing plants.

To help solve these problems, Agoye asked that Babatuinde Fashola, the Lagos state governor, set aside one day to interact just with manufacturers, as other meetings that have been held for a wider audience have not been conducive to manufacturers’ airing their concerns.

He also asked that the state government publish its policy on industrialization, investment opportunities and available incentives for budding entrepreneurs, as well as devise strategies to promote products made in Nigeria.