The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), has stated that the manufacturing sector is the worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the President, Chairman of Council, NASME, Degun Agboade, the deadly virus has affected the operations of manufacturers deeply as many manufacturers still rely on India and China for raw materials to produce.
The NASME boss stated this 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.
“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,” he said.
He said the theme of the conference tagged “Positioning Nigerian MSMEs for African Continental Free Trade Agreement Opportunities” promises to attract the presence of high value stakeholders and captains of industries as well as many participants from all walks of life to Owerri.
He however stated 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,” he said.
He said the main objectives of the summit and exhibitions are for economic development, job creation, income generation, creation of huge African market and structural transformation of the economies of African countries.
According to him, the event will be declared open by the Governor, Imo State, Hope Uzodinma 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 ceremony.