Vitafoam Nigeria Plc’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Taiwo Adeniyi have identified some structural issues that Nigeria should address in order to benefit from its membership in the African Continental Trade Agreement ( AfCFTA).
By its formation, AfCFTA aims at reducing tariffs among members and covers policy areas such as trade facilitation and services. The Continental body operates a range of regulatory measures to prevent standards and technical barriers to trade.
Prompted by media enquiry, Adeniyi identified the factors that may put Nigeria’s membership of AfCTA at a disadvantage as influx of foreign products which may orchestrate price war against the similar products that are made in the country, porous border and inefficient ports with multiple charges of various government law enforcement agencies.
Adeniyi, who is also the President of (NECA)) said production costs across the member countries also limits Nigeria’s competitiveness because of the high cost of production in the country.
“ The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). is an ambitious trade pact to form the world’s largest free trade area by connecting almost 1.3bn people across 54 African countries. The agreement aims to create a single market for goods and services in order to deepen the economic integration of Africa. We are still behind in numbers of platforms . Other years, by the influence of the western world, we might be able to kick in quickly and use that agreement. But the risk we run is that some of the products will be probably cheap in the other environment. They will find their way into Nigeria and will compete with the proudly made Nigerian goods.
“ Something must be done about the borders. As of now, we are tackling the issue of agricultural and other food items But foreign goods still find their ways into the country through the borders. Until that is addressed, we have an issue. Again, the operating environment in Nigeria cannot be compared to another operating environment. The fact is that the cost of production in Nigeria is much higher because as of today we still struggle with key elements of production such as power supply. We have not gotten it right. Unfortunately, as long as that is still the battle, other countries will come and benefit from the Agreement we signed. “, Adeniyi said.
Meanwhile, Vitafoam’s audited financial indicates a profit after tax of N4.38billion for the year ended September 30, 2021, compared to N3.46billion in 2020.
The manufacturer of foams and other household materials declared a dividend of N1.88bn for the year, an increase of 114 per cent over the previous year, according to a statement.
Adeniyi attributed the company’s impressive performance to its customer-centric policy. He noted that the company did not indulge in doing research for its sake but always develop a new product on the basis of customers’ needs.
He explained that contrary to the old perception that Vitafoam was all about rigid foams, the company had introduced many innovative household products into the market through its subsidiaries.