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Friday, April 19, 2024

NACCIMA unleashes the Nigerian Giant

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In order to promote a vibrant regional economy through public and private sector collaboration, NACCIMA under it’s 20th National President Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu articulated a 16-point programme to President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting at the State House Abuja.

Aliyu who is also the president of Federation of west Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and chairman of Nigeria’s Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPS) led a delegation of the 3 bodies to the state house to discuss with President Buhari and his team.

Aliyu told Mr. President that NACCIMA will engage the Federal Government on a 16-point agenda for Nigeria’s business growth and socioeconomic advancement through public and private sector collaboration. These include security, adherence to law and ethics, proactive policy engagement, trade capacity building, efficient taxation, government intervention programmes, creative industry, agribusiness, solid minerals and metals, micro and medium scale development, technology and infrastructure, industrial parks, regional integration, AfCFTA, multiplicity of private sector organizations, Women and Youth empowerment.

On challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, Aliyu highlighted infrastructure deficit, multiple taxation, elimination of obstacles to exports, need for government to patronize local banks and more interventions to support women and youth empowerment. Despite the presence of these challenges, Aliyu said “we prefer to look at the brighter side especially when the issues appear seasonal and with the current efforts of the Federal Government in setting up the Economic Advisory Team, NACCIMA, FEWACCI and indeed the Organised Private Sector in Nigeria are full of hope that a new era is on the horizon”. She said the caliber of persons on the EA team reassures the Organised Private Sector that Government is ready to turn around the story of Nigeria.

Aliyu commended the government on maximization of African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA and requested for a property within Abuja for the location of a Headquarters and Secretariat for FEWACCI befitting of Nigeria’s position as the leading economic powerhouse in Africa.

Aliyu emphasised her role in 3 capacities leading the 3 bodies of NACCIMA, the OPS and FEWACCI to meet the president to solicit the support and assistance of Mr. President in the provision of logistics necessary to realize the FEWACCI Headquarters in Nigeria. She said “our colleagues from other ECOWAS countries are here and will appreciate your Excellency’s kind magnanimity to our requests especially on Nigeria’s commitment as host country obligations for FEWACCI secretariat and support” .

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In response, President Buhari acknowledged Aliyu’s request and asked to formally submit in writing to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to enable the government review and act accordingly.

President Muhammadu Buhari who personally welcomed NACCIMA, OPS and FEWACCI commended NACCIMA for its role in the AfCFTA. He said “I am aware that your association actively participated and made valuable contributions during the consultation process of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. We valued, accepted and adopted your contributions”

The President said the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement is the next frontier for Nigerian businesses and “is our collective duty to ensure we get it right. That the interest of the various sectors of the Nigerian economy are safeguarded”

The President said trade is central to Nigeria’s economy and the government remain committed to ensuring this vibrant job creating sector continues to flourish. He acknowledged and said the government consult key stakeholders like NACCIMA in developing our policies.

President Buhari however lamented on how some Nigerians allowed Nigeria to be used as a dumping ground at the detriment of all Nigerians. He said “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” He further lamented on dangerous and sometimes, fatal impact of fake drugs and foods on our citizens and how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and markets thereby destroying lives and properties. According to President Buhari, most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders. However, after many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight which yielded few results, the President said Nigeria decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure and he is happy to say that within a few short weeks, Nigeria is already seeing a decline in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country.

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President Buhari told Aliyu and the 3-fold delegation, that the implementation validates Nigeria’s action as a Government in insisting that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement must not only promote free trade, but legal trade of quality made in Africa goods and services. He however solicited support of NACCIMA, OPS and FEWACCI in Nigeria and across West Africa “to ensure that we bring an end to the dumping of substandard items in our region and on the continent”. The president further charged NACCIMA in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products. He said “we will soon finalise the National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Your Association is a member of this committee. I expect you to continue your positive and patriotic contribution to support us in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products”

The President was applauded for some 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 expenditure, focus on agro value chains and support of local industries through intervention funds.

Aliyu made a formal presentation of a16-point Agenda to engage the Federal Government in Unleashing the Giant for Nigeria and requested his directives to the appropriate Bodies of Government to engage with NACCIMA towards ensuring that Government policy formulation, implementation and most importantly, policy monitoring have broad the private sector input.

The President who is NACCIMA grand patron assured Aliyu he will not let them down. He reiterated that trade is central to Nigeria’s economy as a nation of traders and he will ensure the government continue to give the sector full support.

Aliyu while speaking to the media expressed satisfaction at the outcome of meeting with President Buhari. Mr. Faman Toure the President of Cote d’ivoire Chamber of Commerce and FEWACCI Vice President said he is impressed with outcome of meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Delagates to the state house meeting with President Buhari include members of NACCIMA, FEWACCI, MAN, NASSI and from other OPS.

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