By Omolabake Fasogbon
The federal government has said efforts were being intensified to establish a trade remedy authority that will be responsible for the enforcement of rules of origin and tightening of borders against fraudulent invoicing.
It stated that this was part of government’s efforts to ensure a successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) Agreement.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, disclosed this during a call on Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at Lagos State Government House recently.
Adebayo further expressed government’s readiness to establish a designated and competent authority in the country, that will see to the administration of the AfCFTA rules of origin as well as automation of process for managing exporter and product registration.
He stated that the visit to Lagos was part of nationwide sensitisation exercise by the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA.
He said the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA which he chairs, was forging an alliance with the National Trade Facilitation Committee domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to facilitate the execution of the regional trade facilitation roadmap.
He said, “The AfCFTA implementation plans included domestication of the AfCFTA Agreement, border enforcement and Rules of origin enforcement, trade facilitation and ease of doing business, production and service capacity growth, power and trade logistics infrastructure, market access, skills and human capacity development as well as quality infrastructure.”
Responding, Sanwo-Olu, expressed the state readiness to domesticate AFCFTA policies so as to accelerate the actualisation of the recently launched Lagos 30- year Development Plan.
“We will explore all the opportunities inherent in the AfCFTA Agreement to grow our revenue and GDP base and create employment for youth,” he said.
Also speaking, Secretary of the National Action Committee, Francis Anatogu, clarified the objective of the committee as it has to do with ACFTA.
He said, “Our strategy is to work with the states based on their areas of comparative advantages and Lagos State has been identified to have trade strength in ICT, telecommunication, transportation and financial service.
“The AfCFTA is expected to deliver an integrated continental market of 1.27 billion consumers with an aggregate GDP of $3.4 trillion. Nigeria constitutes a significant portion of these figures largely spread across our states.”
In his remarks, Lagos state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Egube, reiterated that AfCFTA Agreement would boost the Lagos economy as result of free movement of people, goods and services.