Common External Tariff Will Kill Local Industries, Group Cries Out


The scenario of astronomical rise in cost of production leading to uncompetitive locally manufactured products at a time when the West African sub-region is implementing Common External Tariff (CET) portends more danger for Nigerian manufacturers and the economy, said Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE).
Paul Gbededo, group managing director, Flour Mills of Nigeria plc, who is also the president of AFBTE, said this at the association’s 36th annual general meeting in Lagos.
According to him, Nigerians must be given incentives to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods in order to encourage the sector to thrive like others in developed countries.
“Government must encourage local industries to thrive and curtail smuggling and dumping of sub-standard and unwholesome goods into Nigeria.
“CET will allow both goods made in other West Africa countries to move into Nigeria where locally manufactured products are already disadvantaged by cost. Consumers will not buy made-in-Nigeria goods when same products from neighbouring countries are available at lower cost.
“Past government administrations implemented reforms aimed at transforming all facets of the economy, but the impact is yet to be felt as socio-economic performance indices of the economy remain poor.
“It is required of the new administration to review and fine-tune where necessary policies that will revive our ailing industries and put the economy on the right path. Formulation and implementation of investment-inducing policies and programmes for the manufacturing sector will apparently unlock the potentials of the sector,” AFBTE president said at the meeting.
Looking into the future, AFBTE expects manufacturers to be well prepared for a gloomy business environment, because “production cost might increase amid the challenges of state dwindling finance, devaluation of naira, insecurity and instability in governance.”
For the manufacturing sector to attain its full potentials and be seen as a major driver of Nigeria’s economy, AFBTE wants government to provide necessary infrastructure, enforce corporate governance and best practices in all facets of the economy in order to combat corruption in the system, and ensure access to long-term credit for genuine manufacturers.
The employers also want government to work with banks to reduce lending rate; secure the country’s borders against illegal imports; earnestly tackle insurgency in the Northern part of the country to ensure security of lives and property in the region; check multiple taxation, and streamline the activities of regulatory agencies.

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