NCC to stimulate application of AfCFTA pact, says Danbatta
Determined to explore the economic viability of the telecommunications market in Africa, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has resolved to stimulate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman (EVD), Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed yesterday at the opening of a two-day sensitisation workshop for the communications industry on the implication of the AfCFTA in Kano.
AfCFTA is an initiative of the Africa Union (AU) to create a single continental market for goods and services, in addition to facilitating free movement of investment and people across the continent. Nigeria joined the list of African countries to sign the trade pact when President Muhammadu Buhari, on July 7, 2019, endorsed the AfCFTA agreement at the AU Summit in Niamey, Niger.
Danbatta explained that the AfCFTA would create the world’s largest free trade area, estimated to lead about 60 per cent boost in intra-African trade by 2022.
Represented by the director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis, Alhaji Mohammad Gika, the NCC boss posited that the free trade agreement would enable the commission improve the competitiveness of over $70 billion Nigerian communications market in the continent.
The EVC hinted that NCC was propelling investment and economic activity in the communications industry to protect the interest of government, investors and consumers within the ecosystem. According to him, NCC is fully committed to ensuring synergy through strategic collaboration Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) and other relevant stakeholders in the sensitisation on the implications of the AfCFTA pact.
The Federal Government’s aspirations to advance the country’s economic development through continuous encouragement of pro-trade, pro-business, pro-investment and pro-export measures are in sync with the mandate of the commission, he said.
“Having attained the milestone of ratification of the AfCFTA agreement by 22 member states, the Continental Free Trade Area is now the largest trading bloc in the world in terms of participating countries, since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).“What all this means, therefore, is that, with the AfCFTA agreement, the hitherto business algorithm in Africa, is going to change, as it will become difficult for any country to be regarded as the largest market in Africa, since the continent is now going to be seen as one single international trade bloc,” Danbatta said.
The meeting, he added, is to draw attention of industry stakeholders to the need to fully appreciate the business implication of the AfCFTA, promote a deep understanding of the initiative by stakeholders, in addition to the institutions that will come into existence following the activation of the free trade area.