The President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu, has appealed to manufacturers to improve the standard and quality of made in Nigeria products, for competitive advantage in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). She made the appeal at the opening ceremony of the Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) on Friday in Lagos.
Iya-Aliyu said the call was to enable made in Nigeria products and services compete and surpass expectations on standards internationally in the AfCFTA scheduled for commencement by January 2021.
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, Iya-Aliyu said it had forced business operators to look at new ways of conducting business with the aid of technology.
She commended the efforts of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos, at reducing the impact of the pandemic on both businesses and residents, by ensuring the state maintained its position as the 5th largest economy in Africa.
Iya-Aliyu urged government to intensify efforts on its ongoing infrastructural developmental projects to ensure profitability of Nigerian businesses in the AfCFTA.
“It has been a very difficult year for the global economy and our country Nigeria; as private sector operators, our businesses have been negatively impacted.
“In addition to this was the ”Endsars” protest and the sad loss of lives and destruction of government and private property.
“In the midst of all these problems, we witnessed the destruction of property and infrastructure in Lagos.
“We sympathise with government and people of Lagos State and support the efforts to rebuild the state.
“In this connection, we commend the vision of Lagos State Government to support the SMEs through different strategies such as the Digital Training for SMEs and Lagos State Employment Trust Fund for Small Businesses.
“All of these are steps in the right direction which we hope will also open up opportunities for the youth in the state,” she said.
The NACCIMA president said the LITF had proven to be a veritable platform for customers, investors, businessmen and women to network and expand their enterprises in this geo-business zone, as well as internationally.
She urged participants to take advantage of the Digital Eco-System to participate in the fair following the current realities due to COVID-19.
“As we are all aware, the Lagos International Trade Fair has become a famous annual event which continues to attract participants from home and abroad.
“This year’s fair is unique due to COVID-19 but it is physical and virtual and it provides opportunity for On-line business transactions.
“I also want to call on manufacturers to improve on quality of their goods to enable to them compete internationally and especially within the framework of the AfCFTA where trading is expected to commence in January 2021.
“As the voice of Nigerian business, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), also calls on the government to intensify efforts on the on-going development of infrastructure in this region.
“The improvement in power, roads, and rail, will significantly improve the businesses in this geo-business zone and the country at large,” she said.