Bimbola Oyesola, [email protected]
As African economies count down to the takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Chemical Employers Federation has urged its members to prepare to take on new challenges that may arise from new continental trades.
This is even as it has lamented the upward review of government levies and tariffs on member companies, saying that this has impacted negatively on the revenue base of the companies.
President of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employer’s Federation (CANMPEF), Mr. Devakumar Edwin, at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the body recently, said more will be expected of the manufacturers to compete favourably on the continent.
“The coming into force of the AfCFTA, come 2021, will require that our members are prepared to take on new challenges of adjusting to new market models and enhancement of our products and services to compete favourably,” Edwin said.
On the difficulties being encountered in the country, the CANMPEF president said the legacy issue of Lagos State Government’s Land Use Charge, Ogun and Lagos states’ water abstraction charges and multiple taxes remained on the front burner.
He said these have resulted in partial distraction from the core objectives of company’s personnel to extended engagements with government agencies and departments within and outside their office environment. According to him, the companies more often have had to send staff out to address the incessant imposition of taxes and levies through dialogue and meetings.
Vice president of the federation, Mr. Rotimi Aluko, in his contribution, said many companies were finding it hard to survive as a result of the negative fallouts of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Without doubt, outbreak of the COVID-19 has affected so many things, most especially the manufacturing sector,” he said.
Aluko noted that the employers’ federation was doing everything to ensure that many companies survived the impact so that jobs would not be lost.
He said, “As you know, the survival of most of the workers is tied to the survival of the companies. Of course, no company would want to lay off workers. The first is for the company to survive, then other things will fall into places.
“We also thank God for our president, he is doing everything to ensure that most of our members companies stay afloat.”
The executive secretary of the union, Mr. Femi Oke, said the country has made some progress in socio-economic terms, particularly in recent years.
He, however, stated that Nigeria’s human capital development remained weak due to under-investment and scarcity of inclusive development policies.