Following the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised its members to improve quality of their products and services.
The President of MAN, Mr Mansur Ahmed, gave the advice on Thursday at the unveiling of First Class Corporate Envelopes and Letterheads by FAE Limited in Ikeja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria and 49 other African countries have endorsed ACFTA, which aims to redefine trade relations within African states and beyond.
It proposes creating a single market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments across 55 countries.
The agreement also has a dispute settlement mechanism similar to the one set up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Ahmed said that ACFTA would change the face of manufacturing as it was bound to increase competition from products and services produced outside the country.
He said any inferior and substandard products do not stand a chance to succeed when it was fully operational.
The MAN president decried Nigeria’s over dependence on oil, adding that the manufacturing sector was contributing less than 10 per cent to the nation’s economy.
“We are going to change that, and we must resort to manufacturing. We must increase our manufacturing capacity and ensure that we manufacture what we consume as a country,’’ Ahmed said.
He added that MAN would continue to work with the government and other institutions toward achieving that objective in spite of the challenges bedeviling the industry.
Ahmed also commended FAE Limited for the innovation and persistency which had made their brand a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
Also, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the vision of the company to expand its services to outside Nigeria would be beneficial to the economy.
Ruwase commended the Managing Director of FAE Limited, Princess Layo Bakare-Okeowo, for her diligence and dedication which he said had spurred the firm to higher heights.
Similarly, Mrs Nike Akande, a former Minister of Industry, said there was need to build Nigeria’s economy to an enviable status and ensure its prosperity as a world class economy.
“I have been passionate about promoting Made-in-Nigeria, which I believe, should be the driving force for stimulating the growth of the economy.
“I believe that with more patronage, Nigerian manufacturers will be encouraged to improve the quality of their products and become competitive globally.
“It is certain that as the quality of our local productions improves, local and international demand for them will increase simultaneously,’’ she said.
Earlier, Bakare-Okeowo, urged the three tiers of governments to institutionalise Made-in-Nigeria project by patronising Nigerian manufacturers and also creating an enabling environment for their businesses to thrive.
She said that this could be done by reviewing the Nigerian tax-regime and investing in the power sector to improve power generation, transmission and distribution to oil, the growth engine of the economy.