The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has berated the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) saying that the group has outlived its relevance and should not be reckoned with by the Federal Government especially on matters concerning implementation of the controversial African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)
NAGAFF advised the government to interact often with the informal trade sector comprising of traders at Balogun, Aspander and other markets around the country, saying that these businesses have far reaching effect on Nigerian economy of today.
Deputy National President of NAGAFF, Barr Fred Akhokia gave the advise recently at a roundtable session with Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Apapa, Lagos.
He called on the federal government to return the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) back into the ports, saying that since the agency was asked to vacate the ports, fake and substandard products have been finding their way into Nigeria.
Akhokia alleged that MAN members are not manufacturing anything in Nigeria, they only import things from their parent countries or affiliates and brand them as made in Nigeria.
He said SON should be returned back to the port to check and return some of the cargoes that are not compliant.
Speaking, he said that “MAN had visited the President Buhari and left a letter with him that SON should not return to the port and should not be the only agency responsible for keeping standards in the country. They were complaining of so many products coming into Nigeria that does not comply with the standard we have, how will it now be after the AfCFTA has been signed when their is no longer checks and balances”
“FG should forget about this MAN, how many people did they employ? And what are they producing, what is the quantum of total production of all their members and how is it impacting on the economy of the country, there should be a paradigm shift, government needs to listen to the informal sector”
“Go to Balogun, Apongbon market, you would be surprised at the amount of money that changes hands everyday.The smallest shop owner in Balogun, Aspanda markets employ at least two people, multiply this by the number of shops”
“The informal sector promotes trade more than the MAN and they themselves know this, all the indices in terms of employment, in terms of money generated, the informal sector generate more money and employ more people”
“The MAN does not sell their products directly, they give it to the retailers and people in the informal sector, these are the people that federal government should shift attention to, they should find a way to help them so that the benefits of AfCFTA can improve their business”
“Our manufacturing sector of our economy has gone back in the last decade, many of them have closed down. They have encircled themselves in a cocoon that they know it all. They call themselves the formal sector, what is so formal about them?”
“The MAN are not doing anything, they are just there benefiting from government, they are not paying back to the society what they are getting from the government, they come up with very faulty statistics”
“Meanwhile we have never heard it anywhere that the manufacturers association is putting up a committee do a survey, they just bring up a statistics of what they believe government wants to hear”
Ahokia noted that now that the protocol for implementation of the AfCFTA has not been worked out, it is time to sensitize and inform the government on the implications of the document signed by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.