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‘AfCFTA will increase states’ export capacity by $44.4b yearly’

By Anthony Otaru, Abuja
23 November 2021   |   3:07 am
The Secretary, National Action Committee (NAC) on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Francis Anatogu, has said that the first strategic goal in its implementation plan

Secretary-General, AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene

The Secretary, National Action Committee (NAC) on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Francis Anatogu, has said that the first strategic goal in its implementation plan is to grow the export capacity of every state in Nigeria to the tune of $1.2 billion with a focus on products where they have competitive advantages.

According to Anatogu, AfCFTA will re-energise the country’s aspirations for industrialisation and position Nigeria as the destination for goods and services of the highest standards for the African market.

Recall that the AfCFTA, which came into effect on January 1, 2021, is expected to promote export trade, deepen the economic integration of the African continent and create a single market for goods and services.

This agreement seeks to eliminate 90 per cent tariffs and reduce non-tariff barriers to enhance Intra-African trade across the continent and form the foundation of the establishment of a continental customs union, thereby creating the largest single market in the world.

He gave the assurance yesterday, in Abuja, while briefing journalists ahead of a three-day Nigeria/AfCFTA sub-national strategic workshop in conjunction with Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum (NGF), which begins today in Abuja.

He said the workshop is an intervention that would put the nation on course to make the goals a reality.

He stated: “The NAC-AfCFTA will create a platform to engage and interact with the state technical working groups expected to be in attendance, to reach an understanding of tailoring their economic and development plans to include the requirements of the AfCFTA, ensure the technical working groups (TWGs) are aware of the support available from the Federal Government and lay the foundation for a single vision and strategy between federal and state governments to push the AfCFTA agenda.”

He explained that by the end of the workshop, which would feature talks from relevant stakeholders from the private sector and high-level breakout sessions would be for each TWG to go back with a mission to make their state an integral link in a value chain that starts in their state and ends in another continent with the benefits leading to growths in states’ internally-generated revenues (IGR), development of a highly-skilled workforce earning premium wages and developing a global state identity tied to a product or service.”

He stressed that NAC chaired by the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, and the secretary of the NAC, would continue to coordinate the activities of the public and private sectors and support the states to ensure Nigeria is ready to explore AfCFTA.

Director-General of NGF, Aishan Okauru said that the states were ready to partner NAC and AfCFTA to diversify their economies.

Okauru said: “Remember, the Governors Forum is not a party-based organization; the governors are ready to work with the AfCFTA and NAC to promote their exports and increase IGRs.”