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NACCIMA harps on full implementation of free trade agreement

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NACCIMA National President, Ide Udeagbala

The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has tasked the Federal Government with the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) so that the country could tap from the huge benefits presented by the trade agreement.

The National President of NACCIMA, Ide Udeagbala, during his investiture in Aba recently, said: “This is a giant leap towards increasing intra-African trade and creating collective wealth. It is also a bold step to take Africans out of poverty.

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“We are delighted at the work of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA since its establishment and have been part of its sensitization activities, through the NACCIMA committee on AfCFTA”.

The NACCIMA president promised that the Association will continue to push for the full implementation of the agreement and ensure that Nigerian businesses harness its full benefits.

Stressing the benefits of the trade deal, he said, AfCFTA will certainly be an important strategy in its quest to ensure Nigeria’s economic influence on the continent; taking note that Nigerian businesses are already strongly rooted in many African countries.

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In her speech, the immediate past National President of NACCIMA, Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, said that NACCIMA, as a paramount member of the economy will continue to champion the cause of business, through free enterprise, constructive competitiveness and trade facilitation.

“In line with the objectives of our association, we will continue to contribute ideas for the overall stability of the nation, while promoting growth in the private sector and exploring local and international networking opportunities for business activities.

“NACCIMA as the umbrella body for all city, state, regional, bilateral, multilateral chambers of commerce, including business and professional associations in Nigeria, is willing and eager to partner all stakeholders to ensure private sector operators contribute effectively towards transforming the country’s economy”, she added.

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The senior special assistant to the President on public sector matters and secretary of the National Action Committee on AFCFTA, Francis Anatogu, while presenting the keynote speech, observed that for Nigeria to trade under AfCFTA, it must have a stable environment that would support businesses to flourish.

He suggested that the focus should be on the industrial revolution and the production of what the country will consume.

“We must realize that we have to be involved in things that will reduce our import bills. We have to build on other infrastructure and manage our borders properly. We can’t trade under AfCFTA with an unprotected border and circulation of fake products”.

Anatogu observed that without peace and security, businesses cannot thrive and urged all citizens to realize their roles in regional integration.

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“It is crucial and only a few African countries have companies that are driving towards that. And this is where the private sector ought to take advantage of AfCFTA. Aside from Dangote that is spreading across Africa, other Nigerian brands and companies are not spreading”.

He urged the Federal Government to take advantage of the AfCFTA, by building a strong private sector that will lead and dominate, noting that Africa is crying for businesses to take advantage of its potential.

According to him, the space is large and a lot of things are lacking in neighbouring countries yearning to be exploited.

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“Nigerian businesses must go out as our banks are going out doing great in our neighbouring countries. We should be the major beneficiaries of AfCFTA. We already have the capacity to take over the African market.

“Intra Africa investment or Africa to Africa investment is important and we can take advantage of it under the AfCFTA, because we can now invest in other neighbouring African countries, by complying with their laws.

He urged local manufacturers to improve on their products, add value to it and push it out for business success in Africa.

“We must focus on impact investment that solves an existing problem as well as generating income for the investors. We must see opportunities that are available by problems that are confronting us”, he stated.

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