By Dirisu Yakubu
The Honourable Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has been chosen to champion the “Workstream on Road Transport Infrastructure and Services in readiness for African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCTA,” single continental market for goods and services in the African continent.
This was made known Wednesday when Senator Saraki hosted the Workstream Sub-Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCTA, in her office in Abuja.
While commending the initiative behind AfCTA, Saraki stressed that Nigeria can only reap the mileage by providing enabling environment such as good access roads, stable electricity supply, and security along trade corridors to attract both local and foreign investors.
A statement signed by Anastasia Ogbonna, Assistant Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Aviation quoted the minister as saying that “government has no business in business, but to render service by creating an enabling environment” stressing that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is working to revamp infrastructure to make Nigeria globally competitive.
Saraki while appreciating the difficult task ahead assured the committee of the support of the ministry toward achieving the lofty goals of AfCTA.
Earlier in his presentation, the Senior Special Assistant to the President and Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCTA, Mr. Francis Anatogu argued that the situation whereby the continent spends $650 billion on importation annually, out of which 85% comes in from outside of Africa, is no longer acceptable.
He added that for Nigeria to harness the potentials of the agreement, she needs to be part of the African Union’s conversation towards ensuring that policies introduced are in tandem with national laws of the country.
Reacting to the issue of funding as the reason Nigeria has not fared well, acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Husseini Adamu, said the onus is on the committee to justify why money should be allocated to it, adding that ideas and proposals put forward must be easily understood and comprehensible.