Business

Border reopening: MAN seeks end to trade imbalance, malpractice

With the Federal Government re-opening of four Nigerian borders for trade facilitation and businesses, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has emphasised that issues of trade malpractices related challenges still posed multiple risks to the success of Nigerian manufacturing sector growth.

 

Evidence from a Chatham House research publication reported that informal trade flows in Nigeria, especially trade malpractices activities substantially account for up to 64 per cent of Nigerian gross domestic product.

 

The Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, in an interview with New Telegraph said there was need for  the Federal Government and its agencies to step up in engaging her neighbours meaningfully in order to improve the country’s trade balance, curb smuggling and stop the trend where other countries are having free lunch at the expense of the Nigerian economy.

 

Ajayi-Kadir explained that all the afore-mentioned trade malpractices related challenges were still undermining the performance of the manufacturing sector and its export potential and also eroding the revenue base of the country.

 

According to him, Nigeria m, as the largest economy in West Africa and one of the largest in Africa, must not fold it arms at this period rather it should step up trade facilitation engagements post-border re-opening to realise sustainable growth and development post-COVID-19.

 

The MAN DG stated that prior to the border closure, the manufacturing performance was hindered greatly for years by the abnormal grey trade malpractices, smuggling, counterfeiting and cloning that collectively impacted the sector’s com-  petitiveness negatively.

 

He said that the manufacturing sector in Nigeria was currently under siege, as manufacturers are now victims of increasing incidence of smuggling, especially of counterfeited versions of established local brands; illegal importation of unregistered products, under-invoicing and considerable evasion of duty payments.

 

The MAN DG added that the situation may become worse under AfCFTA if the afore-mentioned recommendations are not considered and implemented in readiness for the continental free trade.

 

To him, most manufacturers in the country have suffered huge losses as a result of these grey trade practices, particularly cloning and counterfeiting of well selling Nigerian products.

 

He said: “More worrisome is the fact that foreigners now take well selling Nigerian products to Asian countries, mass-produce them with the same trademark and packaging, and smuggle them into the country.

 

“These challenges cut across all sectoral groups, foods and beverages, chemical and pharmaceutical, textiles and many more.

 

In fact, most textile companies in Kano have closed down due to the incidence of smuggling, particularly textile materials into the country.”

 

Segun Ajayi-Kadir added that the prevalent trade malpractices along the neighbouring border corridors still needed to be examined holistically as the land borders are reopened for businesses.

 

He stated: “This form of trade malpractice is prevalent because of the absence of clear and enforceable legal and regulatory framework, ineffective enforcement of regulations, and poor co-ordination amongst regulatory agencies among others.”

 

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