By Henry Daniel
“So we must get infrastructure fixed, make manufacturing competitive and institute an enterprise-friendly environment generally less taxes, etc. Otherwise, it will be gains for other countries and to our own detriment.”
Olusola Badimu, the Director- General,
Nigerian – American Chambers Of Commerce (NACC) shared this insight in a telephone interview with our correspondent, on tapping into the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said: ” Nigeria can only take advantage of AfCFTA if our goods and services are available on a competitive note, both on quality and price. Otherwise, there would be more inflows of goods and services from outside into Nigeria which would result in negative economic gains for us.
“For us to benefit, we should be able to export more goods and services across borders than imports. And we can’t really compete without a sound infrastructure (power, good roads, etc).
” Remember if we don’t produce competitively for export, we can’t employ our citizens, that would amount to more inflows of goods & services (rather than outflows or exports) which would rather guarantee jobs for other citizens,
He decried inefficient ports in the country adding that, “If our ports are less organised and/or efficient than Benin or Togo ports, there’s no way we can compete across borders as those more efficient ports would ensure that there are more inflows of goods into Nigeria than outflows and we will continue to record deficit economically and stand at economic disadvantage in trading with others.”
Expectations from Biden’s administration
Commenting on the chamber’s expectations from President Biden’s administration, he said:” We have always have American envoys that are passionate about Nigeria, its development, people and even culturally. All these have contributed positively to the good bilateral relations we have always enjoyed with the United States over the years. We will expect Nigeria to continue enjoying this warm relations under the tenure of President Joe Biden.
The DG maintained that America already has a window of preferential treatment open to exporters in several African countries, Nigeria inclusive, to encourage exports of non-oil & agricultural products into the United States under the AGOA Act, noting that programs between the two countries are in the pipeline to better the lot of business people under NACC purview.