Manufacturers in the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco industry are warning that the Common External Tariff (CET) being pursued by countries in West Africa poses more danger to Nigerian manufacturers, especially in the light of higher production costs that are making Nigerian manufactured products uncompetitive when compared to products from other countries in the region. Group Managing Director of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Paul Gbededo, who is also the president of Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) said that the “CET will allow both goods made in other West Africa countries to move into Nigeria where locally manufactured products are already disadvantaged by cost.” He also said that “consumers will not buy made-in-Nigeria goods when same products from neighbouring countries are available at lower cost.”
Bharti Airtel has said it has no plans to exit Africa, despite announcing that it held exclusive talks with France’s Orange to sell four of its African units. The company said that Orange’s interests in subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone represented a relatively small percentage of its overall Africa. It has however triggered market speculation that this might be a first step towards a complete Bharti exit.
There are indications that President Buhari, in meeting with American president Obama, sought assistance in finding and recovering funds stolen from Nigeria’s coffers by past government officials. He said in his Washington Post article: “The fact that I now seek Obama’s assistance in locating and returning $150 billion in funds stolen in the past decade and held in foreign bank accounts on behalf of former, corrupt officials is testament to how badly Nigeria has been run.”