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‘Nigeria needs efficient logistics sector to thrive under AfCFTA’

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Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Oluwatoyin Komolafe

With negotiations ongoing for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA), stakeholders in Nigeria’s logistics sector have hinged the success of the trade deal in the country to an efficient logistics industry.
  
Worried that many products meant for export are often times destroyed in transit due to several hurdles in the logistics value-chain, the operators noted that neighbouring countries were taking a chunk of Nigeria’s market share due to logistics challenges.
  
The president of the Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Oluwatoyin Komolafe, while speaking at a breakfast meeting, tagged “The Nigerian Logistics Industry: Current trends and persistent challenges”, in Lagos, recently, said as long as there is a need to receive, assemble, transfer and distribute goods and services from one place to the other, the place of transport and logistics will always be preserved.
  
He said agriculture despite being the largest sector in the country, has faced significant production and logistics hurdles which have resulted in post-harvest losses, rising food imports and declining levels of national food self-sufficiency.
  
He stressed that with AfCFTA on board and the significant opportunities it presents in various sectors, especially for SMEs, it is paramount that the nation to revolutionise its logistics sector, which is a huge obstacle to trade, in order to maximize the benefits of the trade deal.
  
He stated that a stronger logistics sector could catalyse economic growth, slash prices of goods and services and enable Nigeria to evolve into West Africa’s key trade hub, if not the leading intra-African trading hub.
   
The Chief Executive Officer, Redstar Express Plc, Dr. Olusola Obabori, also lamented over the high-interest rate crippling growth of businesses, describing high rates as the major reason why about 70 per cent of start-ups fold up within two years of operation.
  
Obabori said the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the worst hit by high-interest rates while calling on the Federal Government to help address the situation.
  
He said just like other sectors of the economy, the logistics sector is not immune to the myriads of challenges plaguing the growth of productive sectors, adding that the sector is burdened with multiple taxations, high-interest rate, lack of coordination among the various tiers of government, lack of adequate infrastructure and inability to get access to capital.
   
He said according to the international Logistic Performance Index, Nigeria is ranked at 110th out of 160 countries as against 75th and 90th it ranked in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
   
“We are not doing well on the global logistic ladder and the situation is worsening. In the past 18 months, we have seen over 70 per cent of companies disappear into thin air. This is largely due to the high-interest rates in the country,” he said.
  
Earlier, Komolafe stated that the importance of the logistics industry cannot be overemphasized since it is a very vital factor in all aspects of national development.
   
“Millions of people and goods worth billions are moved by road, rail, air, and water throughout the world and the safety and efficient movement of the same is the concern of every stakeholder,” he said. 


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