– NECA DIRECTOR-GENERAL
The Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Timothy Olawale, has said that to face the hard challenges the times pose to businesses across the country and to attract the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement recently signed by President Buhari, Nigerian firms must develop a strong capacity for competition. Olawale spoke to journalists after he led a team of his executive members in a meeting with President Buhari at the Government House recently.
Describing the agreement as inherent with benefits, the NECA D-G also warned that it was capable of jeopardizing capital inflow into the country. He stressed that while Nigerians contemplated the benefits of the agreement, they should also spare a thought on the damage it could do to a fragile economy like that of the country due to the disadvantaged environment Nigerian firms operate in such as lack of adequate electricity supply, inadequate network of roads from rural agricultural producing to urban consuming areas and similar necessary infrastructure. Mr. Olawale expressed fear that if all those issues were not properly addressed, Nigeria might end up being at the receiving end as the dumping ground of other economies.
In his address to the association members who called on him, President Buhari called for patience and perseverance as his administration struggles to deal with the nation’s security and economic challenges. He said the journey was a long one that required patience, understanding and perseverance. The President therefore urged the organized private sector to continue to engage government by providing it with honest and constructive feedback. He said: “there is no doubt that the implementation of such policies will not be hitch-free. There are challenges in some areas that need to be addressed. I want to assure you that we are looking at these and other matters to ensure that we have a sustainable platform for business to succeed. Together we can build a Nigeria that we can all be proud of.”