The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) said Wednesday that Nigeria risks being a dumping ground following ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Director General of NECA Mr Timothy Olawale said if infrastructure and power challenges have not been addressed, Nigerian businesses would not be able to compete with their counterparts on the continent.
He said if Nigeria cannot compete in the market with other African countries, it would eventually become a dumping ground for goods produced elsewhere.
He said: ”Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), agreement is laudable. There are lots of benefits inherent in it. We also know that it is capable of endangering capital inflow into the country.
“However, before we start talking about benefits derivable from it, we must also talk of the likely damage it can do to an economy that is fragile like ours, which behaves on us as stakeholders and government to put all hands on deck to address those issues.
“Those issues bother on those variables that will ensure the competitiveness of Nigerian businesses and industry. We don’t want a situation where our businesses are not competitive due to the disadvantage environment they operate.
“Of course we are all familiar with the disadvantaged environment with regards to issue of agriculture among which is power and the issue of road network, that is transportation for goods and services and accessibility to the different business environment.
“What we are saying is that if all these issues are not addressed properly, to make our businesses competitive, definitely we are going to be at the receiving end, to the extent that our nation will become a dooming ground. And even some of the factories that are even struggling presently may end up folding up.
“Of course we know the history of the textile sector and that can be repleted in any sector and we don’t want us to get to that extent. That is why we are saying government should put mechanism in place to address these issues so that we can be competitive and so that we can take our rightful place and maximize the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement.”