By David-Chyddy Eleke
The Lawmaker representing Nnewi North, South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, Engr. Chris Azubogu, has said Nigeria can only benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which became effective on January 1, 2021, if she improves on her infrastructure.
Azubogu, who spoke when a group of indigenous Nnewi businessmen paid him a New Year visit in his country home in Nnewi, Anambra State, said when the continental pact commences, Intra-African trade will enable 90 per cent of all goods coming into the country become tariff-free for the countries that have deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification.
He said with all the African countries, except Eritrea, participating, the AfCFTA would have the largest number of member countries in any trade deal since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
Azubogu said, “We must speed up investment on targeted infrastructural facilities that will crash cost of local manufacturing and movement of goods in order to compete favourably in the coming of AfCFTA.
“The AfCFTA trade Agreement present a market consisting of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $3 trillion with 54 of the 55 African Union member states and we have to do everything possible to crash the cost of manufacturing and distribution as a people in Nigeria in order to benefit from this new deal.
“This is not a time for celebration, but a time to put up framework that will make our country’s economy to benefit from this 1.2 billion market. We have to prioritize Industrial Development Infrastructure.
“We must put human and physical Infrastructure that will turn our huge population as a productive assets in order to benefit from AfCFTA. We have to put framework that will protect jobs and put us in a strategic position as a country that will benefit from AfCFTA deal and not to be a dumping ground with the coming of AfCFTA. We have also to prioritise skill manpower development as a country,” Azubogu said.
He urged Anambra State to key into this 1.2 billion market in order for the state to benefit from AfCFTA new trade deal.