By Elizabeth Osayande
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that Nigeria has a key role to play in the successful negotiation process of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
This is as he called for private sector commitment in the negotiation process, during the virtual opening ceremony of the 52nd Annual National Conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, CIPM on Thursday.
Osinbajo who spoke on “Nigeria and Manpower Preparedness for AfCFTA,” noted that it was important that Nigeria continued to lead on the negotiation process even as it moved to the second phase that will focus on intellectual property, competition, and investment policy.
Noting that the AfCFTA will be the largest free trade area in the world, he said the aspect of the negotiation process was pertinent as Nigeria must play a leading role in harmonisation and integration of effective border management.
According to him, “This will require the scaling of our negotiating capacities and the private sector must support this process by bringing in their interest, concerns and practical understanding on dynamics of international trade, and must pay close attention to the negotiation process.
“They must understand that even in this process of negotiation which is to ensure that we bring in practical dimensions of international trade by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to participate in the negotiation that had been negotiated.”
He added that the private sector skills, knowledge, and experience when brought to the table will be of maximum advantage.
He said: “Building productive capacity is only the first step, the ability of businesses and entrepreneurs to integrate successfully into the opportunities of the free trade agreement gives a great deal in strengthening our domestic ability to facilitate trade,” Osinbajo added.
Earlier, President and Chairman of Council, CIPM, Wale Adediran, said the theme of the conference tagged, “Reinvent: Exploring New Frontiers”, was important as it was time “to reform our establishments, institutions, and companies; to revive multilateral, multi-industry and cross-organisational agreements that are essential for our growth. We must continue to create new coalitions on the most pressing issues of our time.” he added
He called on the government, public, and private sectors to effectively identify and address the people-related impacts and implications of AfCFTA, to proactively mitigate against risk while at the same timing positioning the country at the vantage point of value.
On her part, the Head of Civil Service of Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, urged organisations to be proactive and redefine their steps digitally to be in tandem with the new normal.
According to her, organisations proactiveness and aligning to digital innovations will restore confidence in the teeming workforce.