Manufacturers Association of Nigeria says bad governance and the lack of critical infrastructure in Nigeria are the biggest challenges facing the sector and could deny manufacturers of competing favourably under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA).

Mansur Ahmed, president of MAN, who said this at the 50th anniversary of the association in Abuja, said the deficit in governance creates the greatest challenges not just to manufacturers but to all economic operators in the country. “Frankly speaking, we have a lot of challenges, but the biggest underlying challenge is the lack of good governance. If our governance improves, our regulations will significantly improve and that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our manufacturing systems and make us more competitive,” he said.

“What we will do in the next 50 years is to push for improved governance. In this regard, all stakeholders need to work together or we will continue to have these problems,” he added.

The president said the association have been able to surmount some challenges but said the sector is not where it ought to be. “Our endowment places us in a situation where we should be way beyond where we are today in terms of the capacity of the manufacturing industry. It is therefore important we plan to ensure that in the next 50 years we meet our desired targets,” he said.

Mansur, while decrying the country’s heavy reliance on import, said Nigeria have all it takes to be among the leading industrialised countries, but the lack of basic infrastructure remains a big obstacle. According to him, there are still lingering bottlenecks such as poor road network, congestion at the ports, epileptic electric supply among others. He said Nigeria cannot scale production of quality goods or partake competitively in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) if these challenges are not significantly tackled.

He further charged manufacturers to always improve the quality of products leveraging technology. “We must continue to innovate using technology. Today, technology is the key determinant for competitiveness. If you’re not using the right technology in manufacturing, you cannot be competitive. So, the private sector manufacturers must work hand in hand with the government to improve the operating environment and create the necessary capacity to produce goods competitively.

Also speaking, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila assured the association of the continued support of the federal government to address the challenges and deepen industrialization in Nigeria. At the event, several students and players in the industry were awarded cash prices for innovative inventions. Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group received an award for championing Nigeria’s industrialisation and in Africa through his pan African investments.

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