Nigeria: Manufacturers frown at China’s dumping of cheap products

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Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), have bitterly condemned China’s exaggerated dumping of “cheap and substandard” products on the Nigerian market, describing the situation as “disastrous”. But Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) have said Nigeria should see China’s invasion as a challenge to local industrialists to improve the quality of their products so they can also compete on the world stage.

According to MAN, the expansion of Chinese goods in Nigerian markets makes nonsense of recent government policy that banned importation of some foreign products as part of a campaign to support local industry, as Nigeria’s major commercial cities are now overloaded with sub-standard textiles, machinery and auto-parts.

“They have done it not only in Nigeria but in other countries also. I was told recently that they have taken the design of a popular Hausa hat, the Zanna Bukar and are most likely going to bring their own version very soon. That is the Chinese for us,” MAN’s Chairman, Mr. Bashir Borodo was quoted as saying.

However, the National President, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr. Sanusi Maijama’a believes that the Chinese were only cashing in on a window provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO) of which Nigeria is signatory.

“Chinese products are in our markets because we wanted them and they are taking advantage of their government incentives for exports. Their government facilitates adequate incentive for the products to get to different countries not only Nigeria. So there is a serious policy by the Chinese government towards supporting their manufacturers to export to Nigeria but the reverse is the case in Nigeria,” Mr. Maijama’a of NASSI was quoted as saying.

“The Nigerian government has no clear cut incentive to support her traders or local manufacturers that will give them upper hand or make them competitive. I think this is the time where Nigerian government should make sure that its export and trade policies encourage and protect local manufacturers and traders,” Mr. Maijama’a added.

According to MAN’s Chairman, Mr. Bashir Borodo, the Chinese are taking advantage of the Nigerian government’s failure to create sustainable environment for local industry to thrive as well as the absence of the technological know-how to challenge foreign influences from nations like China.

Nigeria is China’s second largest trading partner in Africa after South Africa, but analysts say China benefits more from its partnership with Nigeria which reached about U$ 6.5 billion in 2009, according to economic reports.

Nigeria exports raw materials to China and China supplies Nigeria’s markets with all kinds of products including motorcycles, machinery equipment, auto parts, rubber tires, chemical products, textiles, garments, footwear and even children’s toys.

Reports claim that the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria’s official quality control agency, have signed an MOU with two Chinese inspection agencies to see that importation of fake products are checked at the source of production in China. However, MAN says not much has so far been achieved under this arrangement.

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