The Federal Government announced its commitment to Nigeria’s manufacturing sector and says the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will provide the platform for Nigeria’s diversification dreams, with a robust focus and support for the manufacturing sector.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investments, Amb. Mariam Katagum, a commemoration of the 2020 Africa Industrialization Day (AID) in Abuja.
The theme is: “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization in the AfCFTA and COVID 19 Era.”
Tuesday’s event was organized by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investments (FMITI) in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The Minister disclosed the FG is aware of the challenges imposed on Nigerian manufacturers due to the pandemic and revealed the FG is doing its best in terms of viable policies, grants, and infrastructure.
“The FMITI is a willing partner in providing the necessary enabling environment that will further stimulate industrialization, accelerate domestic and foreign direct investments,” she said.
“It will as well as ensure a coordinated and integrated approach to Nigeria’s Trade and Industrial policy. This year’s event provides the opportunity to deeply reflect on the state of the industrial sector and the apparent weaknesses which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has become critical, more than ever before for governments at all levels in Africa to dedicate more time, energy, and resources for the growth and development of all categories of industries in the continent.
“A critical testimony to our effective responses to issues was evidenced at the onset of COVID-19 when the FMITI set up an Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which guaranteed unhindered production of goods and services in the industrial sector.
“To complement and sustain these efforts, we are repositioning the ministry to establish a similar response mechanism in all our industrial activities as a buffer to cushion the effects of the COVID- 19 Pandemic,” she said.
The Minister added that industrialization will boost Africa’s GDP and job prospects, especially with the ratification of the AfCFTA. She also said that a national focus on manufacturing with the African free trade deal will boost Nigeria’s diversification agenda and move towards a non-oil economy.
“It is obvious that the implementation of AfCFTA, with a robust focus and support for the manufacturing sector, will provide the platform for our quest for diversification to a prosperous non-oil dependent economy.
“Let me assure you that the Federal Government of Nigeria is geared up to meeting the demands of the enlarged continental market, which will be fostered by AfCFTA.
“This will attract more foreign direct investments into key industries and sectors of our economy, especially, where we possess comparative and competitive advantages.
“The benefits of AfCFTA are quite enormous, some of which include increased food security, through reduction of the rate of protection on trade in agricultural produce amongst African countries,” she said.