The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, has said the National Action Committee will engage Ministries, Departments and Agencies and major stakeholders on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Adebayo spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting with the Secretary-General, AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, and other major stakeholders in the public and private sector in Lagos recently.
The engagement was part of preparations for the commencement of the AfCFTA scheduled for January 2021.
Adebayo, whose ministry is driving the AfCFTA implementation, said, “With the stakeholder sensitisation, the National Action Committee hoped to begin a long and engaging conversation with all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and stakeholders on what the AfCFTA will mean for them.”
The Secretary of the committee and Special Assistant to the President on Public Matters, Francis Anatogu, described the stakeholders as integral part of the AfCFTA drive that would ensure a smooth, seamless and beneficial implementation of the agreement.
He described the AfCFTA as a vehicle for Nigeria’s quest for economic diversification.
Anatogu said, “For as long as we depend on crude oil revenue, our economic prosperity will depend on oil prices, which sadly continued to fall in recent times.
“The solution is to expand non-oil exports and AfCFTA gives us the opportunity to do that.”
Mene said the secretariat had been listening to stakeholders regarding what they expected from the agreement.
He said, “It is Africa’s last opportunity to integrate our market to ensure predictability and certainty of our market.
“We want to integrate women in trade, SMEs, and young Africans because if the agreement benefits only the big multinationals, it will not succeed.”
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Ms Yewande Sadiku, said Nigeria was ready for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA.
“Many Nigerian companies, particularly in the services sector, have long developed the capacity to serve the rest of Africa,” she said.
The acting Director-General, Nigerian Office of Trade Negotiations, Victor Liman, said the rules of origin that would help Nigeria’s ratification of the pact was almost concluded.
“As part of the agreement, it was proposed that value addition should be between 30 and 45 per cent,” Liman added.