Anatogu: Continental Free TradeWill Strengthen Naira

0

James Emejo

The Secretary, National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr. Francis Anatogu, has stated that taking advantage of the agreement would boost the country’s exports drive and strengthen local currency.

He said though the country is presently not fully ready to maximize the potentials of the agreement, exports activities must be prioritised to change the equation.

Speaking at a media briefing on the National Action Committee on AfCfTA Subnational Strategy workshop, themed, “Creating Economically Viable Communities”, he said,”We must not play catch up. We must be up and doing at the beginning to take full advantage.”

Nonetheless, Anatogu said a sub national strategy was inevitable as the AfCFTA seeks to remove tariffs and non-tarrif barriers to trade adding that the situation presented an opportunity to reposition and diversify the Nigerian economy.

He stressed the need to build capacity and standardise exports.

He said though the states have the resources, it was important to work together to help them find their niche in the African export market.

Anatogu added that there was need to boost productivity and skilled power in the country as competitiveness remained critical in the implementation of the agreement.

He also said government needed to work together to provide an investment friendly climate as well as put trade facilities in place.

He however, pointed out that there was no silver bullet to the agreement, adding that the current efforts would require time to fully materialise.

On his part, Director General, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Mr. Asishana Okauru,

said the states are ready to maximize the opportunity presented by AfCFTA.

He said,”Without trade we can’t move fast”, adding that buy in of all tiers of government was vital.

He said currently there had been significant support and interest by state governors towards the success of the AfCFTA.

According to h, states are a playing a crucial role to make agreement work.

Meanwhile, at the opening of the workshop concluded recently, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’Forum (NGF), Mr. Kayode Fayemi, tasked the banking industry to aid the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (ACFTA) in the country.

The governor, said conversations are required for priority sectors of the economy especially those that drive to supply chain including the power sector, rail and aviation sector mining and petroleum, roads and education.

The NGF chairman assured of the readiness of states to partner with the NAC and AFCFTA towards the implementation of the Subnational strategy workshop.

Fayemi said, “For Nigeria to benefit from these opportunities, the subnational government need to incorporate consideration for agreement in our development plan at all the subnational level.”

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo said the AfCFTA is particularly beneficial to Nigeria as Africa demands finished goods as the former aspires to industrialise and progress beyond export of commodities.

He further said the trade agreements acts as a catalyst for the country’s export diversification by providing preferential access to Nigerian products and services to the huge Africa market which currently sources over 85 percent of imports from outside the continent