By Kasim Sumaina
The 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 Africa.
This disclosure was made when she received the Workstream Sub-committee on AfCTA in her office in Abuja, recently.
While commending the initiative behind the continental pact, Saraki stressed that Nigeria could only harness the potentials it offers by providing enabling environment such as: good access roads, stable electricity supply, and security along trade corridors are addressed so that it can become the preferred investor’s destination. She added that the era when the country depended on crude oil is over
The Minister in a statement by the Ministry, added: “Government has no business in business, but to render service by creating an enabling environment,” noting that Nigeria under the President Muhamadu Buhari’s administration was working to revamp infrastructure so as to become globally competitive.
The Minister of State for Transport, while appreciating the fact that the task ahead was daunting, but not impossible, assured the Committee of her Ministry’s support in achieving the laudable objectives 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 per cent comes from outside of Africa was no longer acceptable.
Anatogu posited that for Nigeria to harness the potentials in the continental agreement, the country needs to be part of the African Union’s (AU) conversation towards ensuring that policies introduced are in tandem with national laws of the country.
Reacting to the issue of funds as the reason why Nigeria has not fared so well, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Husseini Adamu, said the onus was on the Committee to justify why money should be allocated to it, adding that ideas and proposals put forward must be easily understood and comprehended.