The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) have presented a 16-point programme to President Muhammadu Buhari in order to promote a vibrant regional economy through public and private sector collaboration.

Penpushing reports that the event took place at the Presidential villa, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) when the association National President Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu led the team of Nigeria’s Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPS)  to a meeting at the   the State House Abuja.

The Association boss told the President that the body will engage the Federal Government on a 16-point agenda for Nigeria’s business growth and socio-economic advancement through public and private sector collaboration.

Penpushing further reports that she said, 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.

The President of the association on challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, 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.

Penpushing also reports that, Aliyu noted that despite the presence of these challenges, “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.

The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria President 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.

Penpushing reports that, Aliyu emphasised her role in 3 capacities leading the 3 bodies of the association,   to meet the President to solicit the support and assistance in the provision of logistics necessary to realize the FEWACCI Headquarters in Nigeria.

‘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” .

The President in response acknowledged the team request and asked to formally submit in writing to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to enable the government review and act accordingly.

“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”

Penpushing also reports that Buhari 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 is safeguarded”

The President said trade is central to Nigeria’s economy and the government remains committed to ensuring this vibrant job creating sector continues to flourish, acknowledging that the government consult key stakeholders like the association in developing policies.

Penpushing reports that Buhari however lamented on how some Nigerians allowed Nigeria to be used as a dumping ground at the detriment of all Nigerians, adding “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”

The Nigerian President 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.

 ‘Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders’, he noted, adding that, after many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight which yielded few results,  Nigeria decided to close its land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.

Penpushing reports that Buhari said 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.

The Presidents told his guests 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.

Penpushing further reports that he however solicited support of bodies 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 the association in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products, stating, “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 assured the team that he will not let them down and reiterated that trade is central to Nigeria’s economy and as a nation of traders he will ensure the government continues to give the sector full support.

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