The former Director-General of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr. John Isemede, has called on the Federal Government to seek inward for products and commodities with huge export potential.
The statement was made by the international export professional during a news interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
He advised the government to use trade fairs to drive foreign participation and also to get the interest of other parties. Under these platforms, the Federal Government could identify products and also create strategies to develop and market them through the AfCFTA platform.
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In this line, he advised the Federal Government to focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with export potentials, because they remain the drivers of economic growth.
Isemede thus tasked the government to bring onboard experts in the AfCFTA implementation committee, as their experience would help FG to know where and how to direct incentives and support for key players in the economy. He added that export incentives for the manufacturing sector should be targeted at SMEs to boost the contribution of the manufacturing sector to Nigeria’s GDP.
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What Isemede is saying
“I want to propose a national Trade Fair in Abuja for just Made-in-Nigeria products, to see if we are export ready or not.
“Multinationals are not interested in export, most of them are still going with the Berlin conference of 1884. They came into this country to take advantage of the over 200 million consumers.
“The hope is on the SMEs, like the ‘Asian Tigers.’ If we are serious on this matter, we should avoid going the way of AGOA and other trade agreements in the past, and there should be a proper alignment of trade agreements signed by the Federal Government, as well as a synergy between Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for proper coordination and communication.”
Why this matters
- According to Isemede, this move would enable Nigeria to maximize economic gains and benefits ushered in by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, as the country can leverage key commodities in the Agric segment like cashew nuts, cassava, yam, as well as beans.
- In a bid to provide relevance in terms of the role SMEs would play in this space, Isemede added that there should be linkages in the value chain of the trade, from production to logistics, packaging, processing and marketing, and this is where SMEs come in.
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