The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria told President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday that the country’s economy remained “fragile”, much as it appreciated his commitment to perform better in his second term in office.
“It is clear that our economy is still fragile,” the President of MAN, Mr Mansur Ahmed, said when the National Council on Manufacturers Association of Nigeria visited Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed added, “With the Gross Domestic Product at 2.0 per cent and below the population growth rate, the clouds are still threatening and the task of driving the economy upwards is still enormous.
‘‘But, Your Excellency, we are encouraged by the very strong commitment you expressed only last week in your Democracy Day address.
‘‘You did say that in your second term, your administration will do, even more, not only to continue to drive the economy on the path of sustained growth but indeed to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”
He commended some of the administration’s policies, including measures introduced on the ease of doing business, “fight against corruption, focus on poverty reduction, job creation and inclusive growth as well as the launch of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”
A statement by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari used the visit to explain why Nigeria had yet to take a decision on the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Buhari informed the MAN officials that an impact assessment committee set up by the government to guide it properly was working, adding that Nigeria’s decision on AfCFTA would be based on “national interest.”
The statement said, “The Presidential Steering Committee on the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Committee was inaugurated on October 22, 2018, with the mandate to assess the extent to which Nigeria was ready to join the agreement, and what the impact of doing so would be.
“The Committee was initially given 12 weeks to conclude its assignment, after holding wide consultations with industry groups and stakeholders, including the MAN.”
The African Union Summit scheduled for July in Niamey, Niger Republic, is expected to address the AfCFTA.
The statement quoted Buhari as saying, ‘‘I don’t think Nigeria has the capacity to effectively supervise and to ensure that our colleagues in AU don’t allow their countries to be used to dump goods on us to the detriment of our young industries and our capacity to utilise foreign exchange for imported goods.”