The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says the Nigerian government must ensure that its policies are industry- friendly, as this is the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade.
Its President, Mr Mansur Ahmed, spoke on Thursday in Lagos, even as he urged the government to show readiness in addressing the supply side constraints of lack of infrastructure, to enjoy the gains of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ahmed also charged the government to ensure that the regulations are not too harsh for businesses to operate.
He however added that the regulations should be seen as a way of assisting businesses to grow which according to him, will ultimately enhance competitiveness and boost the economies.
The MAN boss reiterated that MAN has been in the forefront of setting the pace for the engagement with other African manufacturers for the agreement.
"The Nigerian government must also lead by example in ensuring that policies are industry friendly as his is the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade"
He nevertheless maintained that the nation cannot achieve competitiveness without the provision of infrastructure such as good road network and electricity not only within the nation, but across the borders.
"There is also the aspect of soft infrastructure like visa, tariffs, and foreign exchange that will help ease up the process of carrying out business transaction between countries"
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.
"We must address all these issues since the AFCFTA is not just about trade in goods but also trade in services. As you may be aware modern industry competitiveness depends to a great extent on provision of adequate and efficient Infrastructure"
Explaining further, Mansur said that electricity constitutes up to 40% of the cost of doing business.
Also speaking, the Director General of MAN, Mr. Segun Kadiri maintained that it is very important that manufacturers be given their pride of place to ensure they enjoyed the full benefits of the AFCFTA.
"With the emergence of AfCFTA, there should free trade and movement of person the African continent, it is only important that manufacturing should be given its pride of , he said.
Kadiri however pushed for a manufacturing agenda in the continent.
"What MAN is pushing is that there must be a manufacturing agenda for the continent which means that we should deliberately promote the production of goods that will be used in the African continent"
"Otherwise we will be yielding a 1.2billion market that we have aggregated for others to take advantage on", he stated.