…as National Action Committee flags-off campaign in Kaduna
By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otumba Niyi Adebayo has said that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement will promote trade, boost the Nigerian economy and create employment.
He said in Kaduna at the official flag – off of the nationwide sensitisation tour by the National Action Committee on AFCFTA, that the agreement would also assist Nigeria in addressing the problem of insecurity.
According to the Minister who was represented by the Director, Trade Department in the Ministry, Abubakar Aliyu, the sensitization was in line with the mandate to prepare Nigeria to take advantage of the AfCFTA Agreement while also mitigating its threats to the Nigerian economy.
‘The core objective of the AfCFTA according to the action Committee is to create a single market for goods, services, and free movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent,” he said.
He explained that the nationwide sensitization is expected to take the message to the grassroots levels where the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth, both natural resources and human talent and economic activities are domiciled and is set to cover all 36 States and the Federal Capital.
“The agreement is about promoting industrialization among ourselves, adding that “for us in Nigeria our fortune is determined by oil. Anytime the price goes down, Nigeria goes into recession and when the price stabilize, we struggle to come out.”
“The agreement can only succeed when the states key into it. It is important that all the states key into it. Not everybody will take their products to Africa. The first question we should ask ourselves is what is the source of insecurity, it has root in unemployment, so we need to tackle unemployment. As you are tackling unemployment, if you are producing and you don’t have where to sell, then the product will fail.”
“You remember when people come from all over Africa to buy from Nigeria, that is what we are trying to reverse. The more people are engaged in job creation, the less people will be available to terrorism and criminal activities,” he said.
The Minister said the AFCFTA nationwide awareness and sensitization tour kicked -off from Kaduna State with a courtesy call on Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai ,followed by meetings with public and the private sector, stakeholders, including trade and professional associations in the State.
He said thereafter, the team will proceed from Kaduna State to Bauchi State ,and visits to other states will follow as scheduled.
According to him, they were in Kaduna to identify with the state team so as to establish a better working relationship, build a partnership and discuss strategy.
Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i who was represented by his Commissioner of business innovation and technology, Idris Samaila, said the engagement had signified efforts at various levels to promote economic growth.
Kaduna state, he said, welcome the National Action Committee of AfCFTA and the effort would attract members of the business class in Kaduna.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Francis Anatogu, Secretary National Action Committee on AFCFTA, said their mandate at the National Action Committee is to coordinate the activities of private and public sector at Federal and Sub-National levels to implement AFCFTA for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Our strategy is to work with the states based on their areas of comparative advantages and priorities as a way of building up our national export trade and creating jobs at grassroots level,” he said.
According to him, “The core objective of the AfCFTA is to create a single market for goods, services, and free movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.
The AFCFTA is expected to deliver an integrated continental market of 1.27 billion consumers with aggregate GDP of USD3.4 trillion. Nigeria constitutes a significant portion of these figures largely spread across our states.”
He disclosed that Nigeria had signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019 to promote intra-African trade with other African countries.
“On November 11, 2020, the Federal Executive Council approved the ratification of the agreement demonstrating Nigeria is on course to participate in trading under the AFCFTA. It will be recalled that trading under the AfCFTA commenced on January 1st 2021. In this regard the National Action Committee is working with relevant agencies to establish structures and processes to implement the rules of origin and other arrangements to enable businesses to commence under AFCFTA terms.”
“With the nationwide sensitisation, the National Action Committee on
AfCFTA is taking the message of AFCFTA to the states and grassroots level where the bulk of
Nigeria’s wealth, both natural resources and human talent and economic activities are domiciled. The nationwide awareness and sensitisation exercise is set to cover all 36 States and FCT,” he said.