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COVID-19 lockdown in India, China frustrating NASME’s operations

More negative multiplier effects of COVID-19 induced lockdown of industrial cities of China and India in the Nigerian manufacturing space have emerged.

This was made public by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) President, who doubles as Chairman of Council, Mr Degun Agboade at a press conference to herald its 18th MSME international conference and exhibition scheduled to hold from Tuesday 24th and 25th March, 2020 in Owerri, Imo State.

According to him, the Nigerian manufacturing sector is the worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak and the attendant lockdowns across economies where major production raw materials.

Agboade noted that “We do not have one item we produce in the country without input from overseas. All of our raw materials come from China and India. A lot of our containers are waiting in the shores of this country. The impact on the industry has been huge.”

Giving further insights on the imports of the Owerri NASME 2020 summit, the Chairman of Council released the theme of the conference as ‘Positioning Nigerian MSMEs for African Continental Free Trade Agreement Opportunities’, saying all efforts are being made for a hitch free discussion that will develop small scale manufacturing roadmap for Nigeria.

On the readiness of Nigerian manufacturers for the AfCFTA, he made it clear that contrary to claims in some quarters on the preparedness of Nigeria, Agboade maintained that “Nigeria is still not ready for AfCFTA as the state of infrastructure is a far cry from what is required to make Nigerian goods compete with foreign goods when the trade deal commences in July 2020”

“We are not ready for AfCFTA. We have to devise means to be competitive and this is one area the conference promises to address. Although the federal government has established a National Working Committee of which we belong.

“We are accessing Nigeria’s readiness looking at the issues and the low hanging fruit of the deal. We are sure that the federal government would introduce palliatives to make us benefit from the trade agreement,” NASME President said.

Business Hilights South East Bureau chief reports that arrangement had been concluded for the Governor, Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma to declare it open with the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Maryam Katagum will chair the opening session.