By Naomi Uzor
At the backdrop of the suspension of Nigeria’s involvement in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI in conjunction with Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiation (NOTN) are set to profile investment opportunities in Nigeria and engage investors and consumers on the conduct of the agreement on potential trade benefits of the AfCFTA.
Recall that earlier this year Nigeria declined to sign the AfCFTA on grounds that it was not thoroughly screened against possible exposure of the economy to dumping.
But the Director General of LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, last weekend, said the opportunities in AfCFTA outweigh the drawbacks but the necessary safeguards, systems, soft and hard infrastructures including viable ICT policies must be activated to maximize the potential benefits such as; Consumers and market right of access to multiple and diversified products and services. He stated: “The LCCI commits to working with the Director General/Chief Negotiator, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiation, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe and take leadership in developing appropriate messaging on policy advocacy on consumer protection to sharpen standardization process. LCCI Women Group should articulate and submit a memo on women specific trade needs for consideration by NOTN.”
He said NOTN should initiate a stand-alone Consultation Committee to oversee routine stakeholders engagement and also clearly articulate all the inherent risks in the agreement with proposed mitigating measures available for consumers and business for clarity.
“Data assessment should be a permanent and continuous process helpful to the deployment of effective mechanism, trade policy, monitoring and coordinating.
There should be a robust framework for continuous consultation and feedback on the agreement and this should be strengthened to accommodate an extensive media campaign process to forestall further disconnect with relevant stakeholders” he stressed.