Port Harcourt — Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, says the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCTA, recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, will not be competitive when eastern seaports are not revived to operate optimally.
Chairman, Rivers/Bayelsa branch of MAN, Sen. Adawari Pepple, who disclosed this at the 35th Annual General Meeting and Public Lecture of the Association in Port Harcourt, specifically called for the revamping of Onne, Port-Harcourt, Warri and Calabar ports.
Pepple speaking on the theme of the event tagged ‘ Redeeming our economic potentials through manufacturing,” said every state in the country should have an industrial cluster, while also calling for a state of emergency to be declared in the nation’s manufacturing sector.
He appealed to Governments at all levels to make it a policy to buy Nigerian goods and grow the industries, the economy, and the Naira, assuring that MAN as an association has a commitment to quality and high standards which can be attested by SON, NAFDAC, and other regulatory authorities.
According to him, “The call to redeem our economic potentials through manufacturing would not have come at a better time than now when the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, has just been ratified with the aim of opening the doors for an influx of foreign products at the expense of made-in-Nigeria goods.
“We want basic facilities in this part of the country to be put in place. Our ports should be put in order. AfCFTA will not be competitive and beneficial to manufacturers in this zone, except the eastern seaports are made viable. Otherwise, we will keep on struggling to take our goods to Apapa port that is already over-congested.
“It is my desire that as we look into ways of redeeming our economic potentials through manufacturing, we will be able to recover and revamp critical industries in our nation.”
Pepple also disclosed that for Nigeria to achieve rapid industrialization, there must be a deliberate policy to oriented the private corporate sectors to rapidly raise the level and diversity of manufactured products.
“Manufacturing plays an irreplaceable role in driving growth and economic development. Nigeria manufacturing continues to be heavily dominated by resource-processing sectors that are capital and energy-intensive.
“A structural shift towards higher growth in more value-adding and a higher labour-absorbing manufacturing sector is essential for Nigeria to shift to a development path which generates more growth and higher levels of employment.”