National President of Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Iyalode Alaba Lawson, has stressed the need to sustain the demand for agricultural produce and improved access to international markets if the country must attain a viable commercial agricultural value chain.
Iyalo Lawson spoke in Onitsha, the Anambra State commercial nerve centre during the installation of the 12th President of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture and holding of the 10th edition of the Chamber’s annual lecture called “the Perspectives”.
She said there was compelling need to sustain more international accredited produce testing laboratories in Nigeria to match the increasing agricultural production.
This, she said, would ensure farmers, manufacturers, miners and indeed every Nigerian who engages in production of goods for exports, meet the international standards, assuring that this will reduce the rate of rejection of produce and products from Nigeria.
She lamented that some countries in Africa own hundreds of accredited laboratories, while Nigeria has only 10 set up by Standard Organisation Nigeria (SON) and the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) through Public – Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with internationally acclaimed laboratories.
These laboratories, said Iyalode Lawson, were grossly inadequate, hence some samples for testing were flown to other countries in Africa such as South Africa and Ghana to be tested.
The NACCIMA President, then urged the Anambra State Government to see this as another means of supporting farmers, manufacturers and people doing business in the state as well as a source of revenue.
Urging the ONICCIMA members to support the new president, Mr. Donatus Ebubeogu, she said they expect them to improve on their membership, flourishing of existing businesses and establishment of new ventures.
In his address, the outgone president of Onitsha Chamber, Uchenna Apakama, a pharmacist, called for the construction of second Niger Bridge once and for all, saying “let there be a political will channeled towards the meaningful execution of the project as a political weapon to garner electoral votes as has been the case over the years”.
He deplored the slow passage and implementation of the 2017 budget, asking both the National Assembly and the executive to have mutual respect for each other when discussing sensitive issues as budget.
He said Nigerians were yet to experience the positive impact of the budget on the poor and the prices of goods and services, insisting that “the Federal Government should therefore be seriously concerned about the high level of poverty and hardship in the country“.
Apakama lauded Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo for the steps he has taken so far to dismantle all obstacles encountered by businessmen in the country, especially the recent circular by the Comptroller – General of Customs, directing the immediate dismantling of all Customs check – points, outside 40 kilometres radius of all border posts in the country