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Manufacturers want ECOWAS trade protocols tightened

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As countries prepare for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Federal Government to ensure that the ECOWAS Trade protocols for importation and exportation are tightened for Nigeria to benefit from the agreement.

Indeed, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) stated that neighbouring countries like Benin Republic who import products to be smuggled into Nigeria should be checked before reopening the nation’s land borders.

The president, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, at a press briefing to herald the 2020 Nigeria Manufacturing and Equipment Expo billed for March 10-12 2020, in Lagos, said MAN is continuously engaging the government at all levels, stressing that it is also part of the national committee set up by President, Muhammadu Buhari for the implementation of AfCFTA.

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He said this year’s NME/NIRAM Expo is unique in many ways as one of its striking new features is the direct collaboration between MAN and RMRDC to sustain the running of the EXPO after the exit of Clarion Events West Africa as event organizers.

“Owing to the significant impact the Expo has had on the industrial sector and the economy at large, both organizations deemed it necessary to build on success so far and present an improved Expo this year which would be highly beneficial to all participants,” he said.

According to him, the Expo is now widely considered as the leading and most comprehensive event which encompasses every aspect of the manufacturing value-chain and has been designed to address pertinent concerns for the eventual take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) later this year.

“The theme for this year is: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Nigerian Manufacturing sector”. The theme is instructive at a time like this as it is pertinent for stakeholders to critically discuss how to tap into the opportunities the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents at the same time remaining competitive in a fast-developing industrial space,” he added.

He noted that the Expo which was initiated as a response to the government’s commitment to industrialization and Nigeria’s need to diversify the economy has so far been fulfilling the core of its mandate as attested by participants who constantly make the international manufacturing and equipment gathering a priority event.

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Also speaking at the event, the Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development (RMRDC), Prof. Hussain Ibrahim, said in co-locating these events, both RMRDC and MAN have demonstrated rare confidence and camaraderie among themselves for the purpose of hastening national industrial development.

Represented by the Lagos State Coordinator, RMRDC, Tokunbo Habeeb, he said the NIRAM Expo was conceived in 2012 to create a unique platform where manufacturers could seamlessly source for the much-needed raw materials and benefit from research and development breakthroughs.

He noted that NIRAM Expo has therefore brought about sustainable balance of resource-based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) having access to current research and development findings from the nation’s reservoir of knowledge.

“Permit me to highlight on the achievements of NIRAM Expo on the national economy, which include the creation of awareness on agricultural and mineral resources for which the country endowed and has comparative advantage in value addition such as cassava, maize, sorghum, limestone, gypsum, tropical fruits, kaolin, phosphate, iron and steel, etc as well as the noticeable increase in capacity utilization of many manufacturing industries under the 10 sectors of MAN, particularly those in Food, Beverages & Tobacco Sector, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sector, Basic metal, iron & steel & Fabricated metal sector, Pulp, paper & paper products, printing & publishing sector among others,” he added.

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