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Apapa gridlock still remains a challenge – President Buhari

REMARKS BY H.E PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI DURING AUDIENCE WITH THE LAGOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AT THE STATE HOUSE ON 31ST JULY 2019

1. Let me start by thanking you for your kind prayers and to assure you of our continued commitment to supporting the private sector to flourish and create jobs across the country.

2. In the last four years, we have invested heavily in infrastructure development. We supported our development banks to provide loans to traders and small enterprises. We signed executive orders to support local content consumption. We also focused on enhancing ease of doing business to facilitate investment.

3. Thankfully, there was alignment with the monetary authorities and this significantly contributed to the successes we are seeing today.

4. The consultative approach Nigeria took on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement is just another example of our desire for sustainable and inclusive growth. The team visited all the geopolitical zones. We met farmers, commodity traders, manufacturers, bankers and stock brokers. And we listened and made note of their views.

5. Our studies revealed that although the services sector was doing ok, other key job creating sectors such as manufacturing and processing were still lagging behind.

6. This is evident by the fact that intra-African trade only accounts for 14% of Africa’s total trade. As a continent, our consumption is mostly of goods imported from outside the continent.

7. We viewed this as both an opportunity and a threat. It is an opportunity as Nigerian manufacturers can aggressively expand to meet the huge demand across the continent. It is a threat as one can abuse the rules of origin to flood the market with imports from outside the continent thereby destroying jobs here at home.

8. Nigeria’s engagement in the next phase of the negotiations is to ensure proper safeguards are put in place to support African manufacturers. We shall continue to count on your support to ensure this goal is achieved.

9. I must admit the Apapa gridlock still remains a challenge. It saddens me that businesses have had to suffer as a result of this. We are doing our very best working with the Lagos State Government to bring an end to this issue.

10. We shall review the other matters you have raised in your remarks.

11. Once again, thank you for coming. I wish you a very safe journey back to your respective homes.

12. May God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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