The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Friday said members were losing their share of the African manufacturing industry to other countries on the continent on a daily basis on account of closure of Nigerian land borders.
MAN president, Mansur Ahmed, disclosed in a statement titled ‘MAN’s Position on the Reopening of Land Border Closure’, that key producers of cement, tobacco, polypropylene bags, toiletries, beverages as well as the cosmetic industry were conceding markets they struggled to gain in the West and Central African regions.
Africa’s most populous nation shut its land borders to all imports last August in an effort to stamp out smuggling and accelerate self-sufficiency in food production but this has kept inflation rising and disrupted both the supply chain and the international distribution chains of the local industries, making regional trade difficult.
Inflation reached 14.23% in October, its highest in 30 months while costs of food rose by 17.4% year on year, the peak level in 30 months.
“Since the closure, the association has conducted a research with its members, the outcome is that some sectors had considerable increase in their productivity, while some sectors recorded sharp decline,” said the MAN boss.
“In particular, the export group of the association clearly suffered huge losses due to logistics issues occasioned by the closure as it takes an average of eight weeks for the carriers to ship and truck goods within countries in the same region vis-à-vis trucking through the land border, which takes an average of seven to 10days.
“Furthermore, the increased traffic through our sea port as a result of the closure has increased the perennial congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports leading to greater challenges to exporters and increased demurrages cost and other port levies.”
Ahmed added that “the implications of these are that manufacturers in Nigeria have continued to lose and are still losing market share on daily basis in the West African corridor as export of manufacturers products have now become overly less competitive.”
He affirmed government policy on land border closure should be revisited in the spirit African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which aspired to promote and deepen intraregional trade on the continent. The trade bloc is timed to launch in January.
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