On economy, play by the rules, Buhari tells NACCIMA
• UN Report On Violent Conflict In Nigeria Disappointing, Says Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, declared that everyone must play by the rules on issues relating to trade and business activities that are central to Nigeria’s economic development.
Speaking at State House when he received a delegation from the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and representatives of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), the President reiterated the commitment of his administration in ensuring that the trade and business sector continues to flourish in job creation, noting that a critical success factor was the adherence to law and ethics by all stakeholders.
‘’Unfortunately, in recent times, many traders simply do not play by the rules. ‘Our markets are flooded with smuggled and counterfeit goods. By these selfish practices, we help keep foreign factories working, while closing ours.
‘’From medicines to electronics to food items, our potential to manufacture and create jobs locally is severely hindered by a handful of Nigerians who choose profits over patriotism. We have all heard stories about the dangerous and sometimes, fatal, impact of fake drugs and foods on our citizens.
‘’We have also seen how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and markets, thereby destroying lives and properties. Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders,’’ he said.
Buhari also used the occasion to inform the delegation that the decision to close Nigeria’s land borders for a limited time due to massive smuggling activities had started to yield positive results, saying: “After many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight, which yielded few results, we decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.
“Within a few short weeks, we are already seeing a decline in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country. This validates our action as a government when we insist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) must not only promote free trade, but also legal trade of quality made in Africa goods and services.”
He said his administration would continue to solicit the support of the organised private sector, both in Nigeria and across West Africa, to bring an end to the dumping of substandard items, urging the Association, which is a member of the National Action Committee on the implementation of the AfCFTA, to continue its “positive and patriotic contribution” towards achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products.
In her remarks, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, President of FEWACCI, NACCIMA and OPS, commended Buhari’s recent decision to constitute a new economic team to steer the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth.
Aliyu also hailed significant accomplishments recorded in all sectors of the economy, including but not limited to reduced corruption, foreign exchange stability, bottom of the pyramid programmes, increased ease of doing business, increased capital expenditures, among others.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has described the report of the United Nations (UN) Rapporteur on violence conflict in Nigeria as disappointing.
In a statement last night, the Presidency said the sort of support Nigeria seeks from the UN is not the report that scratches the surface of the subject, then ends up blaming the government under Buhari’s leadership, adding that the UN representative needs to be truthful and even-handed in her assignment.
A statement signed by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, explained: “In Benue, Taraba, Cross River states and many parts of the country, most of the casualties result from intra-group, inter-group and community violence. Many of the displaced persons across the nation are also victims of these conflicts…”
“There is absolutely no doubt that violence between farmers and herders, which has a long history in our country, spiked in recent years, but the effectiveness with which the federal and state authorities responded made a big difference. Calm has virtually returned to all parts affected by the peculiar violence.”